Petrol Scarcity: What Senate Committee Investigations Found

The Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) on the fuel crisis in the country, Thursday, said it’s investigations found out challenges of smuggling of petrol from Nigeria to neighbouring African countries as well as widespread disregard to the official pump price of petrol in the country.
In the report presented by its Chairman, Sen. Kabiru Marafa, the committee recommended that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) be given seven days ultimatum to end long queues in fuel stations across the country and stressed the need for security agencies to ensure effective border patrol to check diversion of petroleum products to neighbouring countries.
Marafa said, “During our recess, the committee moved around some cities, including Abuja and Lagos, to ascertain the situation on ground.
“We also engaged with the NNPC and other stakeholders and we were informed that there were challenges of supply coupled with massive smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries for higher prices.”
He added that the committee discovered the problem of marketers selling above approved pump price,’’ and added, “When we thought that we were making progress, we just realised that the queues were resurfacing.”
Consequently, in line with the unanimous adoption of the committees’ report, the Senate under the leadership of the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, asked the NNPC to, within seven days, end lingering scarcity of petrol and clear queues in filling stations across the country.
It also recommended that the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) double efforts to enforce compliance with government’s regulated pump price of petroleum products in the country.
On Tuesday, the Niger State Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) apprehended eight trucks in Mokwa, Niger State.
The trucks had a combined capacity of 469,000 litres and were allegedly set on cross-border diversion to the Republic of Benin through Babana, a boarder town of about 700 kilometres from Minna.
However, industry watchers have said that the rising crude price which has forced private marketers out of products importation and leaving the NNPC as sole importer, was the root cause of the lingering scarcity.

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