Filling stations, particularly those operated by independent marketers, now dispense Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, at prices that are higher than the bands approved by the Federal Government, with some filling stations in the North selling as high as N685/litre.
In July, the pump price of petrol was raised from between N537 and N550/litre to N617/litre at filling stations operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited in Abuja and many states in the North.
The price of PMS was also increased from between N488 and N500/litre in Lagos and other South-West states to around N580/litre. In the South-South, the price rose from N515/litre to about N600/litre.
Oil marketers confirmed at the time that any shift in price by NNPCL stations was an indication of a rise in the pump price of PMS as approved by the Federal Government, because the NNPCL, being a national oil company, was also the major importer of petrol.
The NNPCL is now the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria. Other marketers stopped importing the commodity due to their inability to access the United States dollars, which is required for fuel imports.
“The price of petrol at NNPCL stations is believed to be the approved price by the government. So once the NNPCL raises its price, every other marketer adjusts his own,” the Secretary of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, stated.
President Bola Tinubu during his inaugural address on May 29, announced that subsidy on petrol had ended, a development that led to the jump in the price of the commodity from N198/litre to over N500/litre on May 30, 2023.
But rather than dispense petrol around N580/litre and N617/litre bands in the South and North respectively, it was observed that dealers of the commodity were selling petrol for as high as N685/litre, particularly in some states in the North, such as Sokoto, Taraba, among others.
In Abuja, independent dealers jacked up their pump prices to as much as N630/litre, as black marketers who hawked the commodity in jerrycans sold theirs at about N850/litre.
At the Aso Energy Resources Station in Kubwa Phase 2, it was observed that fuel was dispensed at N630/litre, against the approved rate of N617/litre.
A.A Rano filling station at the Jabi Garage, Abuja, dispensed PMS at N625/litre. Meanwhile, NNPCL filling stations at Wuse Zone 6 and Garki Area 10 dispensed the product at the normal pump price of N617/litre.
Lagos, Ekiti stations shut
Petrol has not been available in most filling stations in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, for some days, as queues are seen in many outlets in the state.
While the commodity was sold at the approved rate of N580/litre at NNPCL stations, independent marketers, for instance, Matrix located along Poly Road in Ado Ekiti, dispensed petrol at N610/litre.
In Lagos, several filling stations including those belonging to the NNPCL were shut down on Sunday, as findings showed that prices had since climbed to between N600 and N620/litre in retail outlets belonging to independent marketers.
It was observed that some retail outlets belonging to the NNPCL and other independent marketers did not have products on Sunday, thereby shutting their gates against customers.
NNPCL stations around Gate, Jakande Estate Oshodi/Isolo and along 2nd Rainbow did not have any product as of Saturday and Sunday, and did not open to customers.
The PUNCH noticed that some stations belonging to IPMAN had raised the price to between N600 and N620/litre, while those belonging to the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria still sold within NNPCL retail price of N585/litre.
It was observed that Fatgbems stations increased their price to N600/litre, Jezco sold its products at N620/litre, AP dispensed petrol at N593/litre.
NorthWest stations sold products at N595/litre, while Eterna Plc also sold products at the same price.
N685/litre in Sokoto
Petrol is still not readily available in most filling stations in the Sokoto metropolis, as it was also observed that the cost of the commodity at filling stations operated by independent marketers was between N680 and N685/litre.
One of our correspondents observed that while stationsoperated by the NNPCL sold PMS at between N615 and N620/litre, other major marketers dispensed the product at between N630 and N640/litre.
However independent marketers in Sokoto, who had been dispensing the product non-stop since the beginning of the recent scarcity, had continued to sell the commodity at between N680 and N685/litre.
N650/litre in Delta
Filling station operators in Delta State, especially Asaba and its environs are selling fuel at between N615/litre and N650/litre.
A check revealed that filling stations owned by major marketers such as Rain Oil, Matrix, Northwest, among others, were selling N615/litre, while others were selling fuel at between N620 to N650/litre.
Some operators, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said when they received signals from their headquarters to hike the pump price of petrol, they quickly had to comply.
“We are not the ones changing the pump price, it is our head office. Like four days ago we were selling N605, just on Friday we received a signal to change the price to N615,” one of the major marketers explained.
In Makurdi, Benue State, it was observed that the cost of petrol was between N630 and N635/litre.
One of our correspondents who visited some filling stations in the capital city, observed that the pump price of PMS was raised from N620/litre to the current rate.
The price of the product was said to be higher in locations outside the capital city, as operators in the state declined to speak on the reason behind the recurrent price hike.
But a fuel attendant at Enyo filling station along modern market road, Makurdi, who simply identified herself as Roseline, said they were asked to be selling the product at the price because they could not get the product seamlessly.
“If you had come here last week, you would have observed that we didn’t open for business because we didn’t have the product, not until last Friday.
“So, our boss said that the landing cost of the product in Makurdi has changed, so we have to adjust the meter from N615 per liter to N630,” she stated.
N650/litre in Bayelsa
In Bayelsa State, the cost of petrol is between N620 and N650/litre. Some of the filling stations in Yenagoa and its environs were selling the product at N620, N630, N640, and N650/litre on Sunday.
Rainoil along the Mbiama-Yenagoa Road and the Isaac Boro Expressway sold a litre of petrol at N650 last week but reduced the cost to N630 on Sunday.
Perez Petroleum, located on the same expressway, was selling a litre of fuel at N650, while Ereboter Oil dispensed it at N640.
It was observed that only the NNPCL mega filling stationon the Sani Abacha Expressway and other sales outlets were selling at N595/litre.
A commercial tricycle rider, Michael Chibuike said he had no choice than to buy fuel at the various pump prices sold in the state, though he was sad about the development.
“I have no choice but to buy fuel at the high prices that the filling stations are selling. But seriously, I’m not happy. I don’t know where our country is going,” he stated.
In Katsina State, many stations locked their gates against customers on Sunday, as the few that opened for business sold their products at N640/litre.
The few stations witnessed a large influx of customers. A drive around the state capital, Katsina, showed that only the Matrix filling station, located at the Kofar Kaoran roundabout, was dispensing PMS to customers. It was selling at N640/litre.
An attendant at the station who refused to disclose his name said, “We were instructed to be selling at N640/litre and we have been doing it since Wednesday evening.”
It was further observed on Sunday that PMS was sold at between N630 to N700/litre in Gombe State depending on the filling station of purchase.
Retail outlets in the hinterlands dispensed their products at between N700 to N1000/litre.
Some motorists who spoke to one of our correspondents blamed the hike in price on the recent fuel subsidy removal.
Danladi Adamu and Haruna Gimba, in separate interviews, bemoaned the fluctuating price of fuel, noting that it had a direct impact on the cost of living.
“Fuel that used to be N617, now we buy for N630, this is depending on where you buy, most places are more expensive than that.
“In rural areas, stations there sell for as high as N700 to N1000. It’s sad because things are now expensive,” Gimba stated.
The Public Relations Officer, IPMAN, Chief Chinedu Ukadike, explained that the high cost of petrol at independent retail outlets was due to the exorbitant cost of diesel.
“We spend over N2m to transport PMS from the South to the Northern part of Nigeria and who is to pay for that cost? Diesel is now more than N1,000/litre and it is a critical component for transporting petrol,” he stated.
Ukadike confirmed that the cost of petrol in the state was higher than the approved price bands, particularly at stations operated by independent dealers, but stressed that the major issue was the high price of diesel.
He explained that the prices at the NNPCL retail stations and those of major marketers were lower because these operators had tank farms and depots from where they lift their own products.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, the regulator of the downstream oil sector, could not provide any explanation for the development.
When told that independent dealers were dispensing petrol above the approved bands, the spokesperson, NMDPRA, Kimchi Apollo, said he would need to confirm from the operations department of the agency and revert.
He, however, did not revert up till the time of filing this report on Sunday evening.
In Enugu State, petrol stations sold the PMS at between N625 and N630 per litre in stations owned by independent marketers.
However, major marketers like Total, North West, Pinnacle Oil, and NNPCL stations are still selling petrol at N620 per litre.
A commuter driver, Celestine Omeje, told one of our correspondents that marketers especially independent marketers had been increasing pump prices since last week.
Fuel stations in Niger State sold petrol at between N619 and N625.
The product is sold between N640 and N660/litre in Kano.
Some motorists who spoke to The PUNCH blamed the marketers for increasing the price of the commodity despite the fact that the Federal Government had not made any pronouncement on it.