by Isi Esene
Scarcity of petroleum products is slowly creeping into Lagos and other south-west states due to the vandalization of the Arepo distribution pipeline which supplies products to depots in these states.
The scarcity will affect Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Kwara and Ondo States because petroleum products from the Atlas Cove jetty is normally conveyed through the now damaged pipeline to depots in Ejigbo (Lagos), Mosimi (Ogun), Ore (Ondo), Ibadan (Oyo) and Ilorin (Kwara).
Farouk Ibrahim, NNPC general manager, Media, explained to reporters that there is no fuel shortage but the challenge is with the distribution of the available products which he claimed is sufficient to satisfy demand for at least 33 days.
He said: “What is happening now is not fuel shortages but disruption of the distribution channels. With the damage of the Arepo pipeline it has become very difficult to evacuate petroleum products in Lagos and other neighbouring states.”
Ibrahim further noted that the Arepo distribution pipeline conveys between 9 and 11 million litres of petroleum products daily and there are no viable alternatives for effective distribution unless it is repaired.
He said the repairs can only be effected if relevant security agents assure its management of its staff’s safety in the affected area.
The pipeline repairs might take a little longer than expected as the NNPC management is wary of deploying more personnel to the site where the pipeline was vandalized since, according to the NNPC, the first batch of engineers sent were abducted and killed, while trying to repair the pipelines last week.
Several fuel stations in Lagos are currently not selling petrol and there are indications that some fuel stations selling the products have hiked their prices from the official N97 to N100 per litre and more in other places.
Reports say the effect of the damage done to the Arepo distribution pipeline is being felt in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, and many other towns including Offa, Omu-Aran, Erin-Ile, Share and Bode-Saadu.
In his reaction, national publicity secretary of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Lai Mohammed, blamed the Federal Government for the development, stressing that it has bluntly refused to take the bull by the horn by ridding the sector of corruption.
Here we go again!