The Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) on Monday promised to withdraw its transport service if the federal government fails to address its rising operating cost.
According to observations and motorists comments , Queues at filling stations have increased in Abuja and Lagos.
NARTO in a statement by its National President, Alhaji Yusuf Lawal Othman, said the members found it difficult to sustain the business as diesel price rose along with spare parts costs, while the freight rate they charged was regulated and paid in arrears.
“And then we will also tell them to park if nothing is done because we can’t operate in such a way. We can’t operate. We can’t work if nothing is done to increase the freight rate. The condition is unbearable because of the cost of diesel.
He urged the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to urgently increase the freight rate to reflect the present costs of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) or diesel and spare parts’’ he said.
In parts of Abuja like Lugbe, Kubwa and even within the city centre ,it is observed that some of the few stations selling were dispensing from only two to three pumps, thereby causing vehicular queues, while most other stations remained shut.
“I struggled to buy fuel yesterday. I believe these people have fuel but most of them are dispensing from just one or two pumps,” said Olu Muyiwa, an Abuja motorist.
At the Shema Filling Station in Kugbo, Silas Isaac said of the 20 pumps, just four were dispensing.
“This station is a place we often resort to because of its massive capacity, but this has been the trend for two weeks,” Isaac lamented.
The trend was the same at the A.A. Rano and NIPCO filling stations in Jabi. An operator in one of the stations said the issue was due to logistics and that it started in late January, when the organised labour threatened strike over the planned removal of subsidy.
In Lagos, a Twitter user, Aku Nwafor, confirmed fuel scarcity in Lagos Island, saying: “Who knows why there’s fuel scarcity on the island in Lagos. Which kind of suffering is this?”
Kate Henshaw, a popular entertainer, has complained of the queue on Twitter on Monday: “The fuel queue in my area is bad! Oh Nigeria ooooooo!! When will our suffering end??? Not on a Monday…not any day!!!!!”
Seun Oreks, who stated that commuters were getting stranded on Lagos roads, asked, “Why is there a shortage of commercial buses on Lagos roads this morning? Commuters are stranded at almost all the bus stops this morning.”
“Is there fuel scarcity in Lagos? This is the third day I’m seeing this type of fuel queue very early in the morning on Awolowo Road, and it’s the same thing at night when I’m leaving work at 9pm,” she said.
Geetika S. Bhandari, on Twitter, also confirmed the Lagos Island scarcity: “Scarcity of fuel causes huge traffic jams in the island area of Lagos. Happy Monday!”