LESS than two hours after President Bola Tinubu took office, queues for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called gasoline, have resurfaced at major service stations across the country.
Tinubu, in his inaugural speech, had reiterated that the gasoline subsidy had ended.
The president said: “We commend the outgoing administration’s decision to phase out the gasoline subsidy regime that has increasingly favored the rich over the poor. The subsidy can no longer justify its increasing costs in the wake of the drying up of resources.
“Instead, we will redirect funds toward better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care, and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions.”
After the development, there were queues at fuel stations across the country as monitored by the Nigerian Tribune.
In Lagos, from Total to Mobil and Conoil fuel stations around Ojota and on the Lagos-Ibadan highway, motorists were seen in queues, scrambling to buy petrol.
At the time of reporting, few service stations were already closing.
Queues have also resurfaced in Akure, the Ondo state capital, with most gas stations packed with motorists looking to buy fuel.
Most of the gas stations were locked up, while the few that dispensed the product had a long line of cars.
The development caused a traffic jam at most service stations selling gasoline between N200 and N250.
In Osogbo, Osun State, almost all gas stations had queues of cars on Monday night.
Some of the stations visited had even closed at 4:00 p.m., while the few that sold the product had a long line of vehicles, motorcycles, and drums.
One fuel station around the Odi-Olowo area of the city had its gate locked, while operators also closed the entrances to adjoining ones in the surrounding area.
As a result of the development, gasoline prices at stations that dispense the product ranged from N220 to N250.
In Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun state, many gas stations were not selling gasoline before the presidential speech.
The few that did dispense the product were selling well over N200 per litre.
However, the development did not affect the internal transport rate within the state capital, while only a few vehicles were on the roads.
The Nigerian Tribune further learned that it was the same situation in some parts of the state, especially in the Sagamu, Ijebu-Ode and Ilaro areas.
In Benin City, the capital of Edo state, there was panic buying of gasoline on Monday as motorists besieged the NNPC mega-station on Sapele Road.
The Nigerian Tribune toured the city and noted traffic jams on virtually all the main roads where gas stations are located.
Most of the gas stations that opened hours before the president’s speech were closed almost immediately after he alluded to the elimination of the fuel subsidy.
At the NNPC mega-station, the few vehicles that had queued to buy the product soon turned into a long stretch, from Sapele Road to High Court Road, with many motorists saying they didn’t know what would happen now that the subsidy had been removed. .
The mega station sold the product at N187, while others that also had many vehicles in the queue sold between N210 and N220.
In Dutse, Jigawa State, independent traders raised the pump price of gasoline by between N10 and N20 per litre.
Reports indicated that the product was available at all fuel stations throughout the state.
On the weekend, the product was selling for 210-220 naira per litre, but as of Monday night, the product was selling for 240 naira per liter in Dutse.
Sokoto residents also witnessed the return of long lines at some of the state’s gas stations.
The Nigerian Tribune, monitoring the development, noted that apart from the NNPC mega-stations in the state, none of the major markers in the state distributed fuel.
However, some of the independent traders were selling a liter of the product in the state for between N240 and N260 per litre.
Motorists panic-buyed as long lines resurfaced at some gas stations in and around Ibadan.
Just a few hours after President Tinubu’s pronouncement, some of the fuel stations within the metropolis were under lockdown, with an endless queue at some others that served motorists.
A survey conducted in the state local government areas of Ibadan South West, South East, Egbeda, Ibadan North East and Ona Ara showed that more than 56 percent of hub fuel stations stopped serving motorists.
Some seen servicing motorists at the time of reporting were selling for between N189 and N220 per litre.
Members of the Independent Markets Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) anticipate a likely increase in the prices of petroleum products.
In order to maximize their profits, most of them have decided to hoard the products, subjecting travelers and motorists to incalculable hardship.
However, the fuel situation in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara state, was normal on Monday as most of the fuel stations that had the petroleum product delivered the product to the buyers.
Many private vehicle owners and carriers spoken to about the development said the situation had not raised alarm, adding that popular public and private fuel stations were still delivering fuel to buyers at a regulated price.
It also followed that by today, the real picture would unfold as most motorists were indoors due to the May 29 holiday.
In Abuja, a survey of fuel stations revealed that some were not selling because they had no product.
In Garki, Area 11, a fuel station near the Force Headquarters, was dispatching normally at the official rate.
Also in the Lugbe area, car owners had no difficulty refueling their vehicles normally with no sign of fuel queues.
However, stakeholders expressed mixed views on President Tinubu’s pronouncement on removing the gasoline subsidy in his inaugural address on Monday.
Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune about the development, the National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mr. Chinedu Ukadike, said the announcement was sudden, adding that the development could lead to the speculation.
He said: “I also think that the new government should have done an investigation to be able to find out if Nigeria is really subsidizing products or not because this announcement is abrupt and triggers speculation.
“If you’re not sure where you’re buying your next petroleum product and what rate you’ll be supplied with, it’s going to be very economical to be able to dispense.”
He noted that although the removal of subsidies is imminent, the process to achieve it should also be considered.
“We know that the subsidy is imminent, but the process must also be considered, knowing clearly that Nigeria depends on the import of gasoline and national goods and services are activated by petroleum products.
“So that announcement about the elimination of the fuel subsidy by the president is sudden. We at IPMAN believe that based on our conversation with him, he would have looked at the system and could engage stakeholders and address the system once and for all.”
He added that “we all agreed that before the subsidy is removed, the three or four refineries in the country should be efficient and running. The Dangote refinery should have come upstream, modular refineries should also be encouraged to be able to cushion Nigeria’s heavy reliance on fuel imports from foreign countries.”
For her part, Professor Adeola Adenikinju, director of the Center for Oil Law and Economics, Energy, said that there is no better time to make such a pronouncement.
According to him, this was one of the campaign promises of other presidential candidates in the elections.
“If you don’t do this now, then that’s the end of it. We can’t go on like this. We have reached an exponential point where we have no choice.
“In the last elections all the leaders, both [Peter] Obi and Atiku [Abubakar] they all said they will remove the subsidy because that is the best thing to do.
“NNPCL in the last two years has not remitted a penny to the national treasury and we are spending our few currencies to import fuel.
“The country is bleeding to death, that is why this subsidy has to go. Although it will be difficult, we have reached a level where we just have to survive,” he added.
Reacting to the sudden fuel queues in Lagos, IPMAN Operations Controller Mr. Mike Osatuyi said it was normal, adding that people would want to take advantage of the old gasoline price to fill up their tanks.
He argued that the fuel queues were triggered by panic buying.
On the part of the oil traders/gas station owners, Osatuyi said they would also like to take advantage of the situation and sell the product at a higher price.
Efforts to speak to the president of the Nigerian Union of Oil and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) of Lagos State, Mr. Tayo Aboyeji, were unsuccessful.
YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
Akinwumi Ambode resurfaces
Not many can boast of meeting Lagos politician Akinwumi Ambode at any social gathering after the end of his term as governor of Lagos.…
My wife is too beautiful, I want a divorce, the man tells the court
In a shocking twist, a man has taken his marital problems to a local court in Lusaka, Zambia, claiming he no longer wants his wife, Hilda Mleya, because of…
VIDEO: Why I turned down N5m to perform at Tinubu’s opening concert — Portable
The fast-rising singer, Habeeb Okikiola, better known as Portable, lamented on Friday that the organizers of the…
OFFCUT: ‘We can manage 70k successfully as a family of four,’ Nigerians reveal
Nigerians have revealed how a family of four can spend the sum of seventy thousand naira judiciously as…
You are not my president, Pastor Bakare tells Tinubu
Prior to the May 29 inauguration, Pastor Tunde Bakare, serving supervisor of the…
Messi breaks Ronaldo’s record for most goals in Europe’s top 5 leagues
Lionel Messi has broken the record for the most goals scored in the five best leagues in Europe, surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo, during…