Nigeria: Fuel Queues Return to Filling Stations in Nation Capital

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……..Abuja residents groan over heavy traffic, exorbitant fares

Long vehicle queues have returned to filling stations in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, in what has become a perennial happenstance in Nigeria’s seat of power.

In addition to choking up traffic in all the roads that have filling stations, most of the vehicle owners were noticed jostling and engaging each other for positions in and outside the filling stations, many of them with jerry-cans.

The presidential primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which took place at the Eagle Square between Monday and yesterday, which compelled the police and other security agencies cordon off major highways and connecting roads in the city, did not help matters as residents found it hard to move easily around.

While the long queues have persisted, the popular black market vendors are sighted in strategic locations hawking the same scarce petrol in cans.

As at yesterday, a 5-liter jerry-can sold for as much as N2,000, depending on the location one was. Motorists, especially private vehicle owners, who could afford the black market patronized the vendors.

The development, which started on Monday evening, saw many residents trekking long distances, while returning from work as transport fares surged.

Some offices shut down their operations way above their regular closing hours yesterday as motorists seek alternative routes to avoid the logjam. Most of the roads leading directly to the Eagle Square, venue of the APC convention, were shut.

Commercial motorists who spoke to Orient Energy Review complained that most private vehicle owners, including civil servants and women have taken over their business.

“Ordinarily, at times like this, we make more money because even if you buy the black market, with the increased fares on all the routes, you will make your money. But now, many private vehicle owners have converted their vehicles to taxes,” a taxi driver named Amodu said in a chat.

Many of the pedestrians spoken to complained that the heavy traffic on the roads made it difficult for them to arrive late in the office. Others said they had to beg for transport fare assistance in the office, and was not sure if they would come to work the next day.

Many residents of Nigeria’s capital city said they are getting used to witnessing queues in the filling stations since the beginning of the year.

Efforts to get officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) for comments on the possible cause of the fuel queues failed. All their phones were switched off as at press time yesterday.     

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