Nigerians are at the crossroads again and this time, over ineptitude of leaders in government and its agencies.
This has continued to narrow the possibility of resolving the scarcity on time, as fresh product to close supply gap runs into storage facilities’ hitches.
Investigations showed that the bad product was still at the various depots and filling stations, thus delaying distribution and storage of new product coming into the nation.
This means that the current petrol shortage may linger for awhile, as government and other stakeholders continue to work towards resolving all issues associated with the scarcity of fuel at filling stations.
Already, Olumide Adeosun, Chairman Major Oil Markers Association of Nigeria said some committees have been set up to ascertain the level and number of damaged vehicles and others.
“Yet, some bad cases were recorded, including the Ardova PLC case, which led to 136 reported cases of vehicle engines damaged.
“But, we have identified the quantum of the problems, traced the sources and know the vessels that discharged the products as well as the depots and filling stations involved.
“At the moment, we are working to restore normal operations. We are making sure that the clean product, which has been received into our system is pushed out to consumers immediately.”
It was reliably learned that the commercial committee has been mandated to visit the various depots and filling stations where the bad product is stored to quantify and ensure evacuation at approved costs, which would eventually be settled by government.
Reacting to the importation of about 100 million litres of bad petrol, the NMDPRA noted that evacuation of the product had commenced, adding that it also has 20 days sufficiency volume to meet demand.
NMDPRA thus advised Nigerians against panic buying, as about 300 million litres of petrol is being discharged at the Apapa jetty.
Speaking during stakeholders’ meeting, Chief Executive Officer, NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed, who is being queried for the embarrassment said: “Today (yesterday), I am happy to say that loading is ongoing at various depots in the country, because we have been able to identify, isolate and quarantine the limited PMS that was affected by the methanol volume discovered.
“At the moment, six vessels ordered by the NNPC arrived the country in the last few days, carrying a total volume of 300 million litres. This is meant to close the gap created by those affected volumes of petrol we have withdrawn from the system.
“Today, we have about 20 days sufficiency of petrol in the country. Our ideal is to have 30 days volume level; because of concerns, we have to withdraw those vessels, which created this gap of 90 million litres to 20 days sufficiency.
“But with aggressive importation by the NNPC, this gap will be mitigated in the next few days, according to data obtained from the NNPC programme.
‘No need to panic’
“Loading is ongoing in most of the depots that have confirmed one specification material, so there is no need to panic. Between now and tomorrow, the off-specification product will be cleared.
“Currently, there is a 39,000 metric tonnes, MT, vessel that is about to discharge at the Apapa Single Point Mooring, ASPM, and this vessel will be providing products to major oil marketers, including OVH, TotalEnergies, 11 Plc, Conoil and Ardova, according to loading programme received from MOMAN.
“So, once these vessels complete discharging and start pushing the products to marketers, I believe Lagos will be cleared of shortage. We have gotten that assurance from the marketers.
“Also, most of these vessels that are on ground will also be providing volumes to most of the key members of DAPMAN. Off course, we have smaller vessels loading this off-specification product, which our technical team are trying to address.”
In spite of the assurances, most Nigerians see the development as a major scandal in the history of the country for which government must be resolute in ensuring that culprits are brought to book.
Kyari revealed that the adulterated fuel was imported into the country by 4 importers from Antwerp in Belgium with quality inspectors failing to detect the high level of Methanol it contained, first at the point of import in Belgium and later at the point of arrival in Nigeria.
The NNPC boss who did not give the date of import, however, disclosed that the NNPC found out about the situation late in January following a report received from their quality inspector on the presence of emulsion particles in PMS cargoes shipped to Nigeria from Antwerp-Belgium.