Nigerians groan as fuel shortage bites
LAGOS - Thousands of Nigerians have spent several hours at petrol service stations on Saturday, some queueing overnight, as fuel shortages began to bite in the oil-rich west African country.
Commuters in the capital Lagos and other major cities were stranded at bus stops as public transport in the country of 140 million struggled to cope with fewer services and extra people to carry.
Commercial buses and taxis took advantage of the situation and increased their fares by between 30 and 50%, while many motorists slept at service stations for fuel.
"I have been here since last night hoping to buy petrol for my car. Up till now, I am not sure if it will reach my turn before the fuel finishes," Lagos lawyer Augustine Akeh told AFP.
Nigerians have been experiencing acute petrol shortages since Christmas.
A spokesman for the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) blamed the situation on thieves who had burst pipelines to siphon off petrol to sell privately.
"We have enough stock to last several months. It's just that we are not pumping as usual until we are able to fix the pipelines that have been damaged by vandals," Levi Ajuonuma told AFP.
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