Twenty-one depots owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and used to store petroleum goods, especially Premium Motor Spirit, sometimes known as petrol, are broken, according to the IPMAN.
Similar to Nigeria’s four refineries, which are likewise managed by NNPCL, the facilities had become obsolete.
Oil marketers stated that the pipes used to transport goods to or from the depots were either vandalized or out of date, highlighting the fact that this was the reason the NNPCL had been using private depot owners.
The company is the sole importer of petrol in Nigeria, a task it has shouldered for more than four years. Other marketers stopped importing the commodity due to the difficulty in accessing foreign exchange.
The Secretary, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, described the situation as precarious.
He said, “We are in a very precarious situation. The government has to wake up to its duties because as you know, none of the four refineries is productive. They are more or less obsolete.
“We also have 21 depots across the country, nine in the North and 12 in the South. But these depots, which are supposed to be storage facilities, are not productive, because the pipelines that supply products to them are old or vandalised.
“So, the only way to get petroleum products into Nigeria today is through imports. That is only done by NNPC and when it imports the product, it dumps them in private depots, which take charge of the products.”
The IPMAN official added, “But right now, the private depots have raised the price of products. This is making everyone apprehensive. Those who have paid at the government-approved price might wake up to find out that they can no longer buy products.
“As it is now, all the northern parts of Nigeria have been affected and the depots that are supposed to be the storage facilities do not have products. Everybody now relies on going down south to bring in products.
“And when you go there, you are not even sure of getting it. Some trucks spend weeks on roads before they arrive at their destinations due to the bad road network in Nigeria.”