Since the government paid part of its debt to oil marketers last week, and the independent marketers in turn came to an agreement with tanker drivers to pay 44 percent of what they are owed, the expectation of Nigerians has been that the queues at filling stations will reduce. Yet, the queues persist.
Despite this, cars continue to ply the roads and in Lagos, traffic continues to be a problem. Where is the petrol coming from? The answer lies in two words: black market.
While filling stations complain of a lack of product, black marketers always have petrol in stock. Along major roads and back roads, you can see them with their jerry cans and funnel carrying out their business.
One theory is that independent marketers get their consignment from the major marketers and they in turn contract touts to handle the jerry can sales.
And so consumers are getting product but at exorbitant prices: between N150 and N300 per litre for petrol that should go at pump price for N87.