Over the weekend, one of the country’s largest mobile phone carriers, MTN Nigeria, said the fuel shortage was “posing a significant threat to quality of service”.
The country frequently suffers fuel shortages, but the disruption caused by the latest is unprecedented.
Suppliers, hit by tightened credit lines and naira repayments to pay dollar debts, worried they wouldn’t be paid by the incoming government of Muhammadu Buhari, who has pledged to fight endemic corruption.
Nigeria, the biggest oil producer in Africa producing more than 2 million barrels a day, has been depending on fuel import to meet lion’s share of its domestic demand because of lack in petroleum refinery capacity. The situation was exacerbated by a scarcity of diesel fuel which many businesses use to run electric generators to enable them provide consumer services. And with fuel deliveries reduced, whole sectors start to shut down. It has also fueled new questions about whether Nigeria could join the growing club of failing petro-states.
She said the delay in payment of the debts to independent oil marketers was because almost $800 million, out of the total money owed the Nigerian oil marketers, needed to be properly verified.
To add to Nigeria’s woes, MTN, Airtel, and Etisalat have warned that scarcity of fuel could potential disrupt their service’s as each telecom giant is struggling to supply diesel to their own base stations.
Chaos reigned at bus stations where vehicles stood idle and at Lagos’ Murtala Muhammad International Airport as one flight after another was canceled.
With Nigeria facing an imminent crisis, many Africans have reached out to social media to voice their opinions and concerns.
Although Nigeria came to a temporary agreement Monday over this particular fuel shortage, the fallout from the cuts will take some time to repair.
Some banks said their opening hours had returned to normal after being forced to close early on Monday.
He also said following the intervention of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Joseph Dawah, the strike embarked upon by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and the Petroleum and Energy Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, had been called off.
“We have agreed that MOMAN will discuss this with their members with a view to looking for a permanent solution to those places and if need be, take up the matter with government”.
On Sunday, a spokesman for Buhari’s All Progressives Congress said in a statement that the oil crisis “is the most vivid manifestation of the old saying that literally translates to a departing office holder defecating on the chair he is vacating”.