Major cities in Nigeria faced gasoline shortages on Tuesday compounding the energy crisis in the oil-rich West African country, which is already experiencing a shortage in power supply.
Long fuel queues of double parked cars could be seen in many petrol stations across the country, causing traffic gridlock.
Nigeria, a major oil producer and Africa’s largest economy, relies on crude exports for over half of its government revenues, yet its limited manufacturing capacity forces it to remain almost wholly reliant on imported gasoline.Samuel Nwaogu, a civil servant who lives in the city of Abuja says the recurrent petrol crisis is unacceptable for an oil-producing country.
“Honestly this is a cause for concern in this country that this situation recurring from time to time. I wonder why a situation cannot be solved almost…. a problem cannot be solved once and for all in this country. From time to time the same dilemma, the same problem every time so it’s uncalled for. It’s uncalled for being one of the oil producing countries, richest countries in the world. We have no cause to suffer what we are suffering today,” Nwaogu said.
Residents queue for hours on end to buy fuel for the normal price of 86.50 kobo (about 4 U.S. cents) per litre, while some resort to a faster way by buying from the black market for between 150 to 200 naira (about 7 U.S. cents to 1 U.S. dollar) per litre.
Obia Godwin, another motorist in Abuja, was bracing himself to spend all day in the queue.
“Issue of dollar rising should have nothing to do with the layman and an average Nigerian citizen so the most important thing is that we are pleading with the government to look down to the grassroot and solve this problem for once. Let’s not always be experiencing this situation of struggling for over three hours just to buy fuel. I’m almost an hour here so far but I’m yet to get fuel,” Obia said.
Nigeria imports nearly all of the 40 million litres per day of gasoline it consumes as its refineries have been either halted or operating well below 50 percent capacity since last year.