Kerosene Scarcity Hits Lagos, Ogun
Most filling stations across Lagos and Ogun states, southwest Nigeria, have been without kerosene, a major source of cooking gas used by the masses, for three days now.
This has forced up the price of the product as the fuel stations that still have it now sell for between N125 and N130 per litre while retailers sell for between N140 and N145 per litre, further forcing many residents to go after other sources like charcoal.
A visit to some of the filling stations across the two states confirmed that residents may still have to wait for days as there was no specific reason given for the scarcity of the product.
While some attributed the scarcity of kerosene to the recent warning strike by the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas, NUPENG, others simply said they were yet to know why.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, attributed the scarcity to government’s inability to tackle importation of the product.
“It is until later today we will understand what is going on. We could not get enough information about the product at the weekend,” a staff with Total Filling Station, who gave his name simply as Sunday, said.
Another staff of Conoil, who spoke anonymously, said the information available to some of them was that the recent NUPENG strike affected distribution of the product.
According to him, “the filling stations that have been selling since Friday last week are those that have enough kerosene in their tanks.
“Many filling stations don’t have kerosene as we speak. Distribution may commence later this week,” the staff said.
It was learnt that out of the 13 filling stations along the Sango-Idiroko Road in Ogun State, only two sold kerosene at the weekend. As at this morning, however, none of them was selling.
Also, many attendants at filling stations along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway said that the product was not available when our correspondent visited.
When contacted this morning, the Chairman of the Lagos Zone of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, Venerable Folorunso Oginni, heaped the blame on importers of petroleum products as well as the government.
According to Oginni, as long as the country depends on importation of the petroleum products, there will always be problems of scarcity of kerosene.
He noted that the four refineries in the country were not producing at the full capacity, saying if they were working 100 percent, the country would have been producing enough to satisfy local demand.
“But now, there is a serious gap and that is what we have always clamoured against at the labour level. In as much as we depend on importation, we will always have this problem,” he said.
He disclosed that the importers were not too attracted to kerosene, a by-product of the refining process, as they are attracted to diesel and premium motor spirit, popularly called petrol, because of the profit they make.
“That is why we have always sermonised that the only way out is self-sufficiency,” he said.