When the Nigerian government announced the elimination of fuel subsidies in exchange for a N5000-per-month transportation grant for the poorest Nigerians in November 2021, fuel scarcity crisis informally began.
Consequently, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority announced earlier in February that the fuel supply had been depleted after authorities discovered methanol levels higher than the national specification of 2-3% in recently imported gasoline. In the last week of January 2022, 100 million litres of contaminated fuel were imported and distributed.
Ever since the contaminated PMS was withdrawn from circulation, there has been fuel scarcity which has wreaked havoc on vehicles across the country. According to Olumide Adeosun, Chairman of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, there have been 136 reported cases of damaged vehicle engines as a result of contaminated fuel. An official of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) explained in a news article published by Premium Times in February 2022 that various agencies were working to ensure that the disruption caused by substandard petrol was resolved.
The painful aspect of the problem is, even filling stations that have PMS refuse to sell to Nigerians, and those who agreed to sell were selling to those referred to as ‘black marketers’–those who sell extremely high to the buyers.
So, the fuel crisis this time actually affected a lot of Nigerians. It was not just the common man in the masses alone. Even the rich were affected.
In a live video by Kate Henshaw, she lamented how, for the past three weeks, Nigerians have been suffering to get fuel. She also talked about one of the negative effects of the crisis, which is, it stimulates further crises. As people struggled to get their cars filled with fuel, there were issues of car owners bashing other cars, others exchanging verbal words that were not pleasant to the ears. Some even fought.
Another negative effect of the file crisis is the loss of lives. Because of the high cost of transportation, many transporters, in order to make more money, were driving recklessly, resulting in road crashes that claimed many lives.
Again, the ongoing fuel scarcity across the country has led to the death of an illegal petrol marketer and his wife in Jos. The couple was killed on Thursday when fire erupted from the kitchen where Mr Gideon Pam hoarded petrol at their residence in Zawan community of Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau. An eye witness and neighbour, Miss Shantel Alphonsus, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that “Pam runs an illegal petrol business at Zawan Junction.
Moreso, a lot of people got ill because the queue at the bus stops was always fearful. Then, commuters also have to struggle for the scarce vehicles even at a high rate.
Many workers, especially in the Federal Capital Territory, got queried because they were late to work, courtesy of fuel scarcity.
The truth is, the past weeks have not been easy for many Nigerians, and just when we thought things that fell apart were gradually standing, the Russian-Ukraine war sets in again.
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Yes, we have heard Mele Kyari, Zainab, Femi Adesina, and even the President promised that we will scale through this phase.
As at Thursday, NAN reported that refineries were being worked upon, and private ones are being completed as well.
We are not doubting the authenticity of the information, but as a news agency, saddled with the responsibility of being a voice for the nation, we are imploring the Federal Government and all necessary agencies to strive and rectify this issue of scarcity before it gets out of hand.