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As the strike embarked by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association entered its third day on Saturday, marketers have stopped loading of fuel at Apapa, Lagos, to northern and south-eastern parts of the Nigeria, SUNDAY PUNCH gathered.
The refusal to load petroleum products to those places stemmed from the absence of the workers of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund board to certify marketers’ trucks to enable them get bridging fund for fuel transported to very distant parts of the country.
PEF is charged with the primary responsibility of reimbursing petroleum marketing companies for any loss suffered by them, solely and exclusive, as a result of sale of petroleum products at uniform prices throughout the nation.
Industry stakeholders said should the strike be allowed to linger beyond Monday, it could affect oil and gas production, further compounding the revenue shortfall facing the government.
The Federal Government had said it would meet with the leadership of PENGASSAN on Monday in a bid to resolve the matter.
A source, who is an official of an independent marketing company in Lagos, told one of our correspondents that, “It is not that the marketers cannot load to those places. But if they take the risk of loading, they stand losing N8 to N9 per litre as bridging fund. And PEF is not going to do a reversal of what it did not see.
“In our depot we are loading, but it is not as high as before. A larger percentage of the country has been cut off. Eighty per cent of the trucks that are loaded to other parts of the country is from Apapa and Ibafo, not even from Mosimi or Ejigbo depot.
Marketers are only loading to Lagos and other South-West states that do not require PEF. You need 300km to 400km before you can be entitled to the bridging fund.”
The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Lagos Zone, Tokunbo Korodo, said, “The strike is having its toll on us because PENGASSAN members are in charge of loading of tankers. Since they are not working, the depots authorities are only making use of some contract or casual workers so that the impact of the strike will not be much felt.”
The National Operations Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Mike Osatuyi, urged the Federal Government to settle with the oil workers to ensure seamless operations and fuel distribution in the country.
Meanwhile, the industrial is having effects on some states and parts of the country while in others, it is hardly felt.
The queues by motorists for Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, continued on Saturday in parts of Abuja despite the assurance and caution against panic buying of the product by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
While some filling stations in the Federal Capital Territory shut their gates to customers, the ones that dispensed the product were besieged by motorists who were eager to fill up the tanks of their vehicles.
For instance, the two NNPC mega filling stations on the opposite ends of the Kubwa-Zuba Expressway had queues of motorists on Saturday afternoon when our correspondent visited the outlets.
The NNPC and Conoil filling stations in Kubwa town did not dispense PMS and no reason was given as to why they were not selling.
However, in the city centre, there were fewer queues by motorists.
The PENGASSAN’s Secretary-General, Mr. Lumumba Okugbawa, said the association did hold any meeting with the NNPC nor the Ministry of Petroleum Resources the preceding day as claimed by the corporation.
He said the strike was still in effect, adding that the meeting with the government would hold on Monday or Tuesday.
Queues have appeared at filling stations in Enugu following reports that PENGASSAN has embarked on strike. Anxiety over the industrial action forced motorists to rush to filling stations to fill the tanks of their vehicles.
However, the queues, which were pronounced on Friday, reduced on Saturday as most of the filling stations in Enugu metropolis sold the product. So far, the strike has not affected the pump price, as PMS is still sold at N145 per litre.
In Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, there were no queues. But one of our correspondents observed that two petrol mega stations at Asa Dam Road, owned by the NNPC had adjusted their pump price from N140 per litre to N143 per litre.
It would be recalled that the federal government had pegged the price of petrol at N140 per litre at NNPC stations.
In Delta State, the ongoing strike has yet to take negative toll on the economic activities.
On Saturday, filling stations in Warri and its environs were still dispensing at N145.
A few queues were noticed in some NNPC filling stations selling below N145 while several of the stations owned by independent marketers were under lock and key.
In Niger State on Saturday, petrol stations were selling at N145.
Our correspondent who visited some petrol stations in Minna observed that there were no queues at the filling stations.
In Akwa Ibom State, residents have yet to notice the effect of the strike as fuel is sold at N145 per litre.
Almost all the filling stations in Uyo metropolis on Saturday were dispensing PMS except those that had run out of supply.
But the effect of the strike had started creeping in on Ondo State on Saturday as some filling stations did not open.
Most of the shut filling stations were owned by independent marketers while a few of them that were operating sold at N145 per litre.
There was no scarcity of fuel in Anambra. But as early as 7am on Saturday some people had started buying petrol into their cars in anticipation of the PENGASSAN strike.
There were no queues at the filling stations, but most filling stations were busy as the product was available.
The situation was calm on Saturday in Ogun State as the strike had not taken any effect on the state.
In filling stations in Abeokuta, Ijebu Ode, Sango/Ota, and Ifo among others, no queues were seen.
Again, the filling stations were dispensing PMS to motorists at N145 per litre.
In Osogbo, the Osun State capital and other towns in the state one of our correspondents observed that there was no queue at any of type at the filling stations on Saturday.
The price was also N145 per litre except for some few filling stations which had marginally reduced the price of the product.
The strike embarked upon by PENGASSAN has yet to take its toll on petrol consumers in Bayelsa State, our correspondent has noticed.
A visit to some filling stations in Yenagoa, the state capital, revealed that a litre of petrol was sold for between N142 and N145.
Also, no queues were noticed as motorists, commercial drivers and customers bought the product with effortless ease at the petrol stations.
In Oyo State, fuel stations on Saturday dispensed petrol to customers. One of our correspondents observed that there were no queues at any of the fuel stations and none of them locked their gates.
In Rivers State, most of the filling stations remained open for sales as of 4pm on Saturday with no long queue noticed.
Some of the filling stations like Roman, Conoil and MRS on Ada George and Aba roads were selling at the official price of N145.