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Nigerians Celebrate Fuel Scarcity-Free Christmas, Commend Buhari, NNPC

The 2019 Christmas and New Year celebrations will no doubt stand out from previous celebrations where scarcity of petroleum products often marred the festivities.

This comes as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has made good its promise to ensure Nigerians enjoy a hitch-free celebration.

NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, had earlier in the month assured that unlike previous years where long queues were experienced at filling stations towards the festive season, this year will make a difference.

“We are very sure today that we have very robust supply plan not just for Christmas but beyond. We are assuring Nigerians that the NNPC has made adequate arrangement to make adequate supply of petroleum products. If there are any issues, we have come together with other agencies of government to ensure those issues are resolved to ensure Nigerians have a very merry Christmas this year,” Kyari had said during a meeting of stakeholders in the oil and gas sector at the presidential villa, Abuja.

The Whistler visited some filling stations along the Umaru Musa Yar-Adua Express Way, Lugbe, and the Kubwa Expressway, where our correspondents observed free entry and exit of motorists from filling stations.

Our correspondents spoke to some motorists and commuters who commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the NNPC for putting a working strategy in place to avert fuel queues during the season.

A banker, Shalom Olaseni, who spoke to The Whiatler on Tuesday in Abuja, commended the NNPC for ensuring adequate supply of petrol.

Olaseni said fuel scarcity in previous years, especially in December, were due to activities of greedy oil entrepreneurs who allegedly hoard fuel and create artificial scarcity during the season to “make more and costlier sales by the festive rush of December to mid-January.”

He commended the NNPC for improved monitoring of sales across the length of the country, while also praising the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for stabilizing the exchange rate.

Olaseni said: “The evidence speaks for itself. Facts are indisputable indices of progress or retrogression, and going by the unusual availability of fuel in petrol stations around the country, we can safely say a significant and effective policy has been put in to see to that. Frankly, it is a commendable effort.

“We can all agree that some measure of effort has been directed towards solving the challenges imposed thereof. We are hopeful that such an admirable foresight is sustained and cultured in a state policy to fully put an end to fuel scarcity by December,” he said, adding that “the NNPC has been doing well handling the fuel subsidy but it will be good altogether for the country to develop local refineries and also open up fuel importation to private companies because this will ensure that fuel scarcity becomes the thing of the past in the country.”

A businesswoman, Teyojesam Arikpo Seb-Eko, said the government and the NNPC have shown proactiveness in removing the elements that acted as bottlenecks in the oil distribution chain.

Seb-Eko, “I mentioned to someone then that if the Buhari government has not achieved anything, this particular feat is a commendable one.”

Onah Peter, a commercial driver who plies the Abuja – Makurdi route, described the availability of fuel during the season as a good development, noting that it has helped him to move with ease, as he can drive to any station and get the product without having to join a queue.

Onah said most of the stations he patronizes have a steady pump price ranging from 140 to 143.

“In the previous festive seasons, be it Christmas, Easter or new year, fuel is usually very difficult to get. Most times I sleep at petrol stations in order to at least buy some. Now, I just wake very early in the morning, rush to the pack and get set for passengers and afterwards we take off, I just drive into any station and I get the product with ease,” Peter said.

“NNPC did well to ensure that the issue of queues are settled. I want them to sustain anything that is responsible for this great development,” he concluded.

A traveler from Abuja to Port Harcourt, who gave her name as Queen, said although she paid 11,500 naira as against the previous transport fare of 7,000 naira, she is however happy with the availability of petrol at filling stations because she did not have to sit in the bus for long due to queues.

She said the hike in the transport fare  may be due to high volume of travelers.

“I am happy about it because before now when I travel, I would have to sit for so long in the vehicle because of queues. You know most drivers buy petrol after the vehicle is filled up. Am happy because it’s no longer the case in this particular trip,” she said.

Godwin Aduku, a staff of Living Faith Church, Dawaki, Abuja, commended what he described as the significant improvement in the availability of fuel, particularly in the FCT.

He said he has not witnessed hike in fuel prices in recent times, adding that such tempo should be sustained as it is one of the ways to foster socio-economic development.

“So far so good, we can say there is no scarcity of fuel as compared to previous years, where there are long queues.

“This Christmas, there is no fuel scarcity here in FCT and I still buy fuel at a steady price of 143 and 145; I think it is a good development,” he said.

The Whistler also spoke in phone interviews with residents and motorists in some parts of the country.

Atiku Salehi, the Head of English Department, Federal College of Education (FCE), Yola, expressed delight over the current state of fuel and gas supply in the state.

According to him, “No we have not experienced scarcity of petrol, gas and diesel this period.

Salehi applauded the services of fuel stations in the state which according to him “have made the availability of the product easy and even cheaper.”

He said, “The prices have not changed unlike previous years where as soon as it is the firstt week of December, operators will start hoarding the product, which will in turn affect the price.”

“But as it is now, when you go to fueling stations in Jimeta and Yola Town (Adamawa State), you will see their sales representatives scouting for customers; there is no fueling station you will go to that is short of fuel in Jimeta and Yola Town”. He told The Whistler.

Salehi however said that the only issue they have around Jimeta and Yola Town is kerosene product which have been scarce for some time.

Joy Pwaveno, a student, commended the federal government for re-writing the norm.

She said, “it has been long we experienced buying petrol with ease during Christmas season,” adding that in Mubi where she resides, the product is relatively cheap compared to previous Christmas seasons.

The NNPC had recently launched an initiative called ‘Operation White’ which it said was aimed at taking adequate stock of petroleum products at all its depots across the country.

SOURCE: TheWhistler