Several filling stations in parts of Abuja did not dispense Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise known as petrol, on Monday, throwing motorists and residents into panic over fears of a fresh outbreak of fuel scarcity in Nigeria’s capital city.
Checks by Naijacrawl showed that several filling stations in the Kubwa and Bwari areas of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were empty, as motorists who stopped to buy fuel were informed that the product was not available.
As a result of the development, queues formed at some filling stations on the Kubwa expressway, which dispensed the product.
Motorists, who engaged in panic buying when it was discovered that some filling stations were not dispensing fuel, claimed that there are indications of an imminent hike in the fuel pump price.
The latest speculation of possible hike in the fuel pump price is coming two days after the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, denied reports that it was planning to once again increase the price of the product.
“Dear esteemed customers, we at NNPC Retail value your patronage and we do not have the intention to increase our PMS pump prices as widely speculated,” the NNPCL said in a statement posted on its official X handle on Friday, October 6.
However, checks by Naijacrawl revealed that the latest speculation was largely sparked by concerns over the ongoing armed conflict between Israel and Palestine in Gaza.
There were reports on Monday, October 9, that oil prices have jumped in the international market over concerns that the situation in Israel and Gaza could disrupt output from the Middle East.
According to the BBC, Brent Crude, the international benchmark, climbed by $2.25 a barrel to $86.83. Also on Monday morning, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude, the United States, US, benchmark, rose by $2.50 a barrel to $85.30.
Reuters reported that oil prices surged by more than 3 per cent on Monday as military clashes between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas ignited fears of a wider conflict in the Middle East.
A Reuters report said Brent crude rose by $2.70, or 3.2 per cent, to $87.28 a barrel by 11:43 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude rose by $2.78 or 3.4 per cent, to $85.57 a barrel.
Both benchmarks rose by more than $4 a barrel earlier in the session, according to Reuters.
The Isreali-Palestinian conflict in Gaza is shaping up to affect the global economy, just like the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, oil prices soared, hitting more than $120 a barrel in June 2023.
Although Nigeria is one of the leading oil producing countries in the world, the country imports refined petroleum products, a situation which leaves it at the mercy of price fluctuations in the international market.
An international affairs analyst, Katch Ononuju, told DAILY POST on Monday that the spike in oil prices in the international market, as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, was inevitable.
“The spike has already taken place yesterday. But apart from the spike in oil prices which is inevitable, the main reason for the attack is to have the US become part of the discussions in the Saudi Arabia versus Israel negotiations.
“I believe the reason for this (conflict) is Hamas trying to force the Palestinian question into the discussion between the Saudis and the Americans and the intention to get the Saudis to make peace with Israel. That is what is going on and I think Hamas has been very very strategically successful,” Ononuju, who is also the Director General at the Heritage Centre, Abuja, said.
Hamas had, on Saturday, launched a military assault on Israel.
The attack, which has been described as the largest in decades, has triggered a wave of retaliatory Israeli air strikes on Gaza, a territory occupied by Palestinians.
A report by CBS NEWS on Monday put the death toll on both sides at above 1,200. Nine Americans are reported among the dead.
The fighting is expected to escalate, as Israel has called up 100,000 reservists to join in the military campaign.