The country is shutting down, one business at a time, one institution at a time. Fuel scarcity is biting, and the effects form a deadly ripple of system failures, closures and dysfunction.
We have never been in this zone in over 2 decades. The country is shutting down, one business at a time, one institution at a time. Fuel scarcity is biting, and the effects form a deadly ripple of system failures, closures and dysfunction.
For a huge part of last week, several airline operators announced plans to significantly alter their normal flight schedules, blaming it on their inability to get aviation fuel for their aircrafts.
“Due to the current scarcity of Jet-A1 fuel being experienced in the country, we regret to inform you that all our flights will not operate regularly as scheduled,” one of Nigeria’s premier arlines, Aero Contractors, informed its customers on May 22. “We regret any inconveniences the changes will cause. All efforts are being made to ameliorate the situation and revert to our regular flight schedule.”
At the airports in Abuja and Lagos, thousands of travellers were stranded as most airlines cancelled their scheduled flights.
In a similar message on Sunday, the management of GTBank issued notice of early closure of its branches nationwide.
“The current shortage of petroleum products in the country has limited our ability to supply diesel to all our branches, in order to continue normal branch operations.
“Due to this, we unavoidably have to close our branches nationwide at 1 pm, from tomorrow Monday, 25th May 2015,” the bank said in the text message.
Both MTN and Airtel, two of Nigeria’s major telecommunications operators, have all made notices to their customers, informing them that their services might be disrupted till the fuel supply situation improves.
The text message from Airtel management to its customers on Sunday read: “Dear Valued Customer, this is to inform you that due to nationwide fuel crisis our services may experience some strain. We are doing everything possible to manage the situation. Thank you for understanding.”
In its own notice to customers, MTN announced that the intractable fuel shortage might force it to shut down some of its base-stations that are powered by diesel-operated generators.
“The management of MTN states that the current diesel scarcity in most parts of the Nigeria is posing threat to quality of services and the ability to optimally operate the network,” the company said in a statement released on its Twitter handle.
“MTN’s available reserves of diesel are running low and the company must source for significant quantity of diesel in the very near future to prevent a shut down of services across Nigeria. If diesel supplies are not available within the next 24 hours the network will be seriously degraded and customers will feel the impact.”
Car dealer, Cosharis Motors, has also warned buyers of its new BMW cars to desist from riding in them, until fuel is available, apparently in other to avoid using adulterated fuel purchased from the black market to run the vehicle that may cause serious mechanical damage in the cars. Experts say the new BMW cars have zero tolerance for adulterated fuel.
Throughout last week, as the fuel scarcity took its toll on businesses, parents experienced difficulties transporting their wards to school and back, as no filling station opened for business following the continued strike action of oil workers.
How did we get here? How did we allow a country with the most thriving economy on the continent to grind to its knees. The answer is simple:
The oil marketers and the outgoing government continue to bicker in their unending blame game over unpaid subsidy claims.
The marketers, under the umbrella groups of Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), the Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association (DAPMA) and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), have continued to accuse government of refusing to pay outstanding claims of about N200 billion.
But the outgoing Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Saturday accused the marketers of blackmail, claiming that government had agreed with marketers that N159 billion would be paid after a reconciliation by a committee constituted for that purpose.
Meanwhile, another systems collapse has been reported at Shiroro Power Plant on Sunday amid the worsening energy crisis.
With the effects of the fuel scarcity increasing, the price of transportation is at its peak. People pay 4 times the normal rates to move between points.
Nigeria is gradually shutting down. All our systems rely on crude oil for power generation, as does most parts of the world. The mood in the air is one of despair and anger. This anger has a direction – the outgoing government.
Nigerians, a hugely docile lot, are on the verge of a meltdown. One can only suffer deprivation and hardship for so long before a reaction is inspired.
In this case, I fear the reaction might be worse than the scarcity.