The Federal Government has blamed the ongoing fuel scarcity on increased demand by nations in temperate regions.

Addressing State House correspondents after a Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said “This is winter period. There is always more demand for refined products from petroleum ‎during winter in the colder countries. This is what we are experiencing now.”

He said the Council directed the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachukwu and the Group Managing Director, GMD, of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, to end the situation before the end of the week.Mohammed also insisted: “The government has no intention at all to increase the pump price of petrol.”

Meanwhile, marketers are blaming the NNPC for alleged favouritism in distribution of petrol.

The Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, monitoring team visited five depots: Obat, Sahara, Nipco, Dee Jones and Aiteo yesterday and discovered an uneven allocation of products.

Consequently, the Assistant Director, Retail Outlets Monitoring, Downstream Division, DPR, Mrs. Ijeoma Otti-Onyeri, who led the team, compelled private depots with products to give priority to Lagos State in order to end scarcity.She ordered that 80 per cent of what was being loaded should be delivered to Lagos.

It was revealed during the visit, a total of 51,702,000 litres of petrol was in stock at Nipco, Sahara, Aiteo and Obat depots.

The DPR delegation urged Nigerians not to panic, saying there was enough stock for the next seven days. This was after disclosure that the PPMC was expecting two vessels in the next 48 hours.

Also, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, said the inability of the NNPC to pump petrol to the Ejigbo satellite depot was aggravating the scarcity in Lagos.She said: “There is panic buying because there is speculation that there will be increase in the pump price of petrol. That is why we have to monitor depots, to find out if there is fuel.