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Motorists groan as fuel scarcity bites harder in Lagos

– A litre now goes for N120 and above

Independent Petroleum Products Marketers (IPPM) have hiked the price of Premium Motor Spirit, petrol due to scarcity of the product. Only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) filling stations and a few others sold at the regular price of N87. Others sell a litre for N120 and above depending on the crowd. Some filling stations don’t even sell at all.

The scarcity has drastically affected all means of transportation in the state. Commercial bus operators, tricycle and okada operators have hiked their fares with about N50 -N100 within the metropolis.

A bus ride from Iyana Iba, Ojo to Iyana Ipaja which was N150 is now N200, from Iyana Ipaja to Ogba was N120 now its N150.

On Wednesday, November 18, 2015, ENCOMIUM Weekly visited Conoil filling station at Ifako, Haruna junction, Lagos and met a senior staff, Mrs. Oreoluwa who said government was allegedly about reducing the pump price of petrol from N87 to N57 which would affect their business and would create a huge loss for them because they buy at N87 at the depot and the cost of transportation is high and they still sell.

She opined government should not bother with the price reduction and leave them to sell at the N87 they have been selling.

Mr. Mayowa, a fuel attendant at Conoil told us the scarcity had affected him, and he had not sold since last two Sundays till date.

Tricycle rider, Mr. Jamiu Mukaila said he was able to buy N100 per litre on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, at Total filling station with an extra charge of N50 and now he is frustrated because the little he had was finished and he went in search of fuel but could not get.

He told us he spent hours at the filling station trying to get fuel and would still carry passengers at the same old fare.

Mr. Peter Emmanuel, a tricycle operator who was able to buy fuel at former Texaco at Maternity bus stop, Ogba, Lagos, said he bought for N100 per litre and he is not able to meet up with his daily expectations due to the hours he spent and struggled to buy fuel, so he decided to sleep hoping he would get fuel in the evening or late in the night.

ENCOMIUM Weekly continued on Thursday, November 19, 2015, and got to Eterna filling station, Agege, Lagos, at 9.22am. They had fuel and were selling. There were long queues of kegs, cars and commercial buses as touts popularly called agbero were at the entrance of the filling station, ready to make trouble at the slightest opportunity. They were collecting money from people coming in to buy fuel.

Mr. Chuks Eze, a car owner bought at N100 per litre and had to pay N50 for his five litre keg and also paid N200 to the fuel attendant to buy his way through.

Mr. Charles Samson, a car owner complained that he had been on the queue for 45 minutes and had not still gotten fuel, hoping to wait patiently until it got to his turn.

Mr. Suliamon, a tricycle rider said he bought at the normal price of N87 but the kegs in his tricycle do not belong to him as he was buying for some people at N100, after spending three hours at the filling station.

ENCOMIUM Weekly also visited Agege garage, Lagos, at 2pm where we talked to commercial bus drivers about how they have been coping with the situation and how it has been affecting them.

Most of them bought at N87 the normal price but some complained of the long time it took them to buy while some bought at N130.

Mr. Fatai Aremu, a bus driver, who was able to buy at N87 had to be on a long queue till it got to his turn because he could not afford the extra N50. He was very patient, not minding the stress.

Mr. Emmanuel Ohia, a bus driver, who was able to buy at the normal price of N87 said it was not easy because he had to give the fuel attendant something before she considered him.

Mr. Chukwudi, a bus driver who could not control his temper complained bitterly how he got fuel for N130 at Agege Motor Road, Abule Egba (Lagos) in the morning. The fuel attendant told him they were selling for N87 but when it got to his turn, he bought for N100.

Mr. Chikezie Okoye, who bought at N100 said he had to buy full tank on Tuesday night that was what had been sustaining him. He did not blame the government. He said when things want to change, it becomes very difficult, so if we bear the pain, soon, it will be alright.

Mr. Shakiru Odunlaja, a bus driver bought at N100 per litre, though it was not easy for him. He told us how the filling station operators adjusted their pump metre just to extort people. He also said he wants the government to send a task force to filling stations to check their activities because most of the filling stations have fuel but they don’t want to sell. They sell to marketers, some are even selling as black market.

Mr. Samuel, who is a tricycle operator told us how he spent hours in the filling station. He said, “I woke up as early as 6am and on getting to the filling station, I met a sea of heads waiting to buy fuel, and at the end of the day, I spent close to four hours and still bought for N100.

“I carry passengers for the regular fare but I got fuel at a very high cost. It doesn’t favour me at all. Government should just let these people sell to us for N87 instead of causing trouble.”

Mr. Mayowa, an attendant in Oando filling station, Fagba, Lagos, said, “We do not have fuel because for about three weeks we have not ordered because of the high price.”

Other filling stations such as Fowobi, Total in Abule Egba, Lagos, Mobil, etc, have stayed closed pending the time the price is stable.

ENCOMIUM Weekly on Thursday, November 19, 2015, gathered that fuel is being sold in NNPC at Abule Taylor, Abule Egba but the procedure in which they sell is different from how they used to sell.

Mr. Akinoboye said, “We buy fuel at N87 per litre but we would pay extra for keg. I bought 25 litre keg, I paid N100 extra. We also gathered that they do not sell in car tanks except in kegs then you transfer it into your vehicle.”

At about 9.30am, Thursday, November 19, 2015, we visited NNPC at Fagba, where it was sold for N100 per litre.

We also gathered how frustrated Nigerians fight at filling stations. They fight and argue violently due to pressure, spending hours on a long queue and still end up buying at a high rate so, it makes people tense.

ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered on Monday, November 23, 2015, that motorists have increased transport fares. According to a bus driver at Ogba, “I collect N50 from Ogba to Fagba and vice-versa.

We also spoke to another bus driver, who told us that he collects N70 from Ogba to Fagba and sometimes N50 from Fagba to Ogba.

A tricycle rider told us he collects N100 from Ogba to Fagba and vice versa. He said he did not increase the fare, he still collects the normal amount which is N100.

An okada operator also told us that he did not increase the price of transport fare, he said he collects N300 from Ogba to Fagba and in a situation whereby there are two passengers he collects N150 from each. He said he collects N250 at times.

Some of the motorists still ferry passengers the normal amount while those who do not want to carry at the normal price add N20 to the amount they have been collecting.

A bus driver at Fagba, Mr. Akeem, told ENCOMIUM Weekly, it is no longer profitable charging N50 to Ogba. It is now N70 while from Ishaga to Ogba is now N100 instead of N70.

He said he bought fuel N150 per litre and by the time he deducts ticket fee for the union and local government and other unbudgeted payments along the route, hardly could there be anything left after paying N10,000 to the bus owner.

“It is not easy now that fuel scarcity has resumed again. I bought fuel N150 per litre yesterday and that is why I charge higher. I only pray that the situation subsides before the week runs out.

An okada operator, Mallam Musa, also shared a similar view. He told ENCOMIUM Weekly that fuel price is skyrocketing. “I bought five litres for N1,000 so, how do you expect me to carry a passenger for N50?

Now, the least I charge is N100 so that I will not run into total loss at the end of the day, so I am appealing to President Buhari to look into this case before things get worse.


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