The removal of the petrol subsidy has caused a lot of chaos in the Nigerian petroleum industry. The prices at the pump have sharply increased, leading to long queues at petrol stations. In response to this, commercial transporters have also raised their fares across the country.
In his speech, the new president, Bola Tinubu, announced the removal of petroleum subsidies. As a result, some petrol stations in Lagos increased their prices by about 100 percent to N370 per liter. However, a few significant stations sold petrol at prices ranging from N195 to N220 per liter in Lagos and Abuja.
Some petrol stations have even shut down, causing long queues for fuel. Depot owners have also halted their operations, stating they need further clarification on implementing the new policy.
In Abuja, motorists faced long queues at petrol stations due to the subsidy removal. Commuters were also stranded at bus stops, waiting for buses that had increased their fares by 50 to 100 percent out of fear of fuel scarcity.
Many people are expressing their disappointment with the new president’s decision, as they feel it will further burden the already struggling Nigerians affected by President Muhammadu Buhari’s previous administration.
“This is absolutely unfair to Nigerians. When I heard that Tinubu has directed the removal of oil subsidy, I had to rush down here to fill my tank and some jerry cans for my power generating set.”
Also, Mr. John Akinloye, a motorist along the Agege area, said, “I was not surprised to see queues at the fuel stations after the announcement. I just pray this sad and unfortunate development will not last so as not to put suffering masses in another round of economic and mental torture.
“I have been at the fuel station for over an hour and am yet to get to the fuel pump point. Even the fuel attendants are unwilling to sell more than N3,000 per buyer. If you want to buy N4,000, they are refusing.”
Long queues were observed at Conoil and Adova Petroleum stations in the Karu area of the capital city, where petrol was being sold at N195 per liter.
On the other hand, independent marketers increased the pump price to between N315 and N370 per liter, especially in regions outside of Lagos and Abuja.
As workers and business owners return to work after the inauguration holiday, the situation will worsen in the coming days.
Many stakeholders, including the immediate past chairman of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Managing Director of 11PLC, Adetunji Oyebanji, believe that removing the fuel subsidy was long overdue and necessary. They argue that the country’s financial situation is deteriorating, and without taking action, the revenue will be solely consumed by servicing debt and paying subsidies, leaving no funds for other essential expenditures like salaries.
“The people kicking against this interest will end up suffering even more. The amount of money spent on this subsidy has been documented in so many different forays, different places; people have talked about it over the years, and to make matters worse, a lot of it is going towards subsiding other companies in Africa, hence it has to go.”
Oyebanji, the Managing Director of 11PLC, expressed his support for the removal of fuel subsidy, stating that it had been long overdue and that it primarily benefited the wealthy elite rather than the average citizen.
Prof. Felix Amieyeofori, the Lead Promoter of EnergyHub Nigeria, also welcomed the subsidy removal, emphasizing that the funds should be redirected toward other strategic economic programs. He stressed that borrowing money to pay for subsidies was not sustainable.
Mazi Colman Obasi, the National President of the Oil and Gas Service Providers Association of Nigeria, viewed fuel subsidy as a means of making easy money. He expressed skepticism about implementing promises made in the inaugural presidential speech, noting that previous administrations had often fallen short of their commitments.