Business activities suffer as Nigerians lament biting fuel scarcity, SERAP sues NNPCL 

Another round of petrol scarcity has again crippled social and economic activities in Lagos, Abuja and Ilorin, Kwara state, as well as some parts of the country with some petrol stations selling as high as between N800 and N1000 per litre.

Both the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL)-controlled stations and some privately owned others that have fuel, are characterised with long queues and neck-cutting prices. 

The situation was manageable until Saturday evening when all the petrol stations tightened the noose on sales, thereby creating an atmosphere of artificial scarcity.

Some who bought the commodity Saturday morning got the commodity at between N650 and N750 per litre, until evening when many closed and a few were left to lord it over hapless consumers.

“The thought of trying to buy fuel there is like pick a needle in the midst of haystack,” said one of the car owners.

For instance, many Christian faithful could not attend church service as a result of the fuel situation, while others that went by public transportation paid through their nose.

The resultant effect is that cost of transportation rose between 200 and 300 per cent in the populous parts of Lagos as well as Abuja and Ilorin.

Blueprint ’s findings revealed that in highbrow areas of Lagos, there was relative calm, with vehicles moving freely.

The NNPCL had in a statement last Thursday said logistics issues were responsible for the resurfacing of fuel queues in some parts of the country, and that the issues had been resolved.

Despite the NNPCL’s assurances, the reality on ground tells a different story as fuel queues returned to major parts of Lagos, Abuja and Kwara as well as Ogun state with most stations running dry.

In some areas, the pump price of the product has been hiked to as high as N1000 per litre while others are selling at N900 as against the normal N600.


Similarly, the situation in Abuja as well as Ilorin is not any different when our correspondents visited some stations.

In Abuja for instance, the roadside fuel hawkers are having a field day making brisk business by selling the commodity at exorbitant price.

At Jabi area, a 10-litre worth of fuel goes for around N10, 000-N11, 000, and the development has forced motorists to increase fares by almost 200 per cent.

Blueprint observed quite a huge crowd of passengers as different bust stops struggling to find their ways into the very few available vehicles.

From Durumi to Berger which used to cost N300, the fare has jumped up to N500, same with Karimo to Berger which rose by same margin.

Most importantly, commercial motorists settled for a short distance trip to make more gains, a development some of the drivers blamed on a drastic increase in the price of fuel.


At the Airport Road, it was also a concentration of commuters going in different directions, waiting for the few available vehicles. For instance, the Geri Alimi/Airport which used to cost between N100 and N150, suddenly jumped to N400, and from Geri Alimi to Post Office which before now was N200, now goes for N500.

From the Post Office to the University of Ilorin Campus, the fare is now N700, as against the earlier N400.

And for Keke NAPEP within the campus which was N100 per person, it is now N150, while the N400 drop is now N600.

…Business owners count losses

The worsening fuel situation has drastically affected some business owners, both at the large and small scale levels.

Some business concerns in Lagos, according to reports have suffered immensely as buyers could not make it to the markets.

At the popular Oshodi and Balogun markets, traders could not get buyers and the few that were available had to turn back owing to exorbitant cost of the items.

At the Balogun market for instance, Alhaja Idiat, who deals in textile materials, said: “Before now, you are aware of the inflation which daily increases the prices of goods and services. With fuel scarcity, we can’t get customers while those who managed to come, get frustrated by the cost of the materials. The fuel scarcity has added to our woes. We want President Tinubu to quickly correct the trend.”

A visit to the popular Wuse market in Abuja revealed similar concerns, as Uche, who sells cosmetics expressed his frustration.

“We have been sitting all day without market. Getting to the market from Kubwa where I live has been very frustrating. Is it not bad that getting here, one is confronted with low sale? The government should please come to our rescue so we don’t expend all we have on transport,” said Uche.

The situation is worse for some small scale operators like barbers, fashion designers and welders among others, who rely mostly on alternative power source.     

And in Ogun state, the story remains the same as Mrs. Abosede Akinola, who sells tie and dye textiles at Itoku market, in Abeokuta, said the hike in fuel price is affecting her business as she can no longer deliver clothes to customers that are far away. 

She said: “As a business woman, my customers are office men and women. I travel and I also deliver goods to customers that are far away. With the current petrol price, transport fares have increased and most of my customers are telling me that the transport fare they pay has been doubled. Traveling to Sango-Ota used to cost #500 but since there’s an increase in fuel price, it now costs #1000.  Some of my customers told me to wait till everything goes down, which may take a while.” 

Muinat Kareem, a trader who sells cooking ingredients at Sabo market, Sagamu, Ogun state said business hasn’t been going well for her since the beginning of fuel scarcity. Going to her shop on a daily basis has become a problem. It costs too much to get to her office.

“I only come to shop thrice in a week and those days are important days when I know my customers would need me. We have moved to our new house and the hike in fuel price is not encouraging traders at the moment. Before the fuel issue started, my T-fare cost N300 daily, now I spend N700 daily. It’s not as if I make sales instantly when I get to shop, I still need to convince customers to patronise me,” said the ingredient seller.

Meanwhile, industry insiders have pointed to irregularities in supply and other issues as being responsible for the scarcity.

As the country faces challenges, there is a growing call for stable and equitable fuel supply systems, highlighting the need for effective reforms in the petroleum sector. 

 …SERAP sues NNPCL over missing $2.04bn, N164bn oil revenues

Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the NNPCL over its alleged “failure to account for and explain the whereabouts of the alleged missing $2.04 billion and N164 billion oil revenues.”

The lawsuit, it said, followed the allegations documented in the recently published 2020 audited report by the Auditor-General of the Federation that the NNPC; failed to remit the money into the Federation Account, saying that the money may have been diverted.

This was contained in a statement signed and made available Sunday by the Deputy Director of SERAP, Kolawole Oluwadare.

SERAP, in the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/549/2024 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja, sought  “an order of mandamus to direct and compel the NNPC to account for and explain the whereabouts of the missing USD$2.04 billion and N164 billion oil revenues, as documented in a report by the Auditor-General.”

The body asked the oil giant to “hand over suspected perpetrators to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for investigation and prosecution,” and “ensure the full recovery and remittance” of the missing funds into the Federation Account.

SERAP said the failure to account for the missing oil revenues reflects the NNPCL’s   “continuing failure to uphold the principles of transparency and accountability,” noting that it’s a “grave violation of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended].”

The organisation said  “had the NNPCL and its subsidiaries accounted for and remitted the disappeared public funds into the Federation Account, it is likely that more funds would have been allocated to the fulfillment of economic and social rights of Nigerians, such as increased spending on public goods and services.

 “The missing oil revenues have also impeded Nigerians’ ability to enjoy their economic and social rights, and denied them access to essential public goods and services, especially at the time of cost of living crisis in the country.”

 “There is a legitimate public interest in providing the details sought. The NNPC has a legal responsibility to account for and explain the whereabouts of the disappeared money.

“Without the full recovery and remittance of the missing USD$2.04 billion and N164 billion oil revenues, the dire economic situation may worsen and Nigerians will continue to be denied access to basic public goods and services,” it further argued.

It also said the Auditor-General of the Federation “has, for many years, documented reports of the disappearance of public funds from the NNPC,” and that the AGF “fears that the money may have been diverted into private pockets, denying the government the funding needed to carry out its activities.

“The NNPCL reportedly failed and/or refused to remit N151, 121, 999,966. The NNPCL without any justification deducted the money from the oil royalties assessed for 2020 by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) now the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).”

(Additional reports from

About Blessing Anaro/Segun Odunewu, Lagos, Umar Bayo Abdulwahab, Ilorin,  Tope Sunday and Adeola Akinbobola, Abuja

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