Fuel scarcity returns to Abuja as marketers shut stations

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Many fillings stations were shut on Tuesday, leading to lengthy queues by motorists for Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, at the few outlets that dispensed the commodity in Abuja and neighbouring states.
Punch Newspaper reports that, Petrol scarcity resumed again in the Federal Capital Territory and environs on Tuesday after about a month break, as motorists and other PMS users imagined when they would see the last of fuel queues in Abuja.
The petrol scarcity and its attendant queues on Tuesday were due to the warning strike by the Suleja Depot Branch of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria.

The oil marketers commenced the three-day warning strike on Monday and stopped their members from lifting petrol from the depot to more than five states in the North, including Abuja, a development that caused scarcity on Tuesday. The two ever-busy filling stations, Conoil and Total, located right in front of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited headquarters, shut their doors to customers on Tuesday.

Members of the union commenced the strike on Monday in protest against the continued indebtedness of the Federal Government to oil marketers with respect to the payment of fuel transportation costs, otherwise called bridging claims.

The IPMAN Suleja Depot Branch Chairman, Yahaya Alhassan, said marketers had stopped the supply of products from the depot, as the union had prevented trucks from moving PMS to the northern states.

He said marketers were withdrawing their services until the Federal Government settled their outstanding bridging claims of N50.5bn.

He said the three-day warning strike would go on if the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority fails to remit the money.

“At the expiration of the warning strike on Wednesday, if they (NMDPRA) fail to pay us, the stoppage of supply would continue indefinitely,” Alhassan stated, adding that all the appeals which the association made to the authority to pay the debt had been ignored.

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