Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy has been immobilized by a shortage of fuel over the weekend. About 70% of its income originates from crude oil, leaving most of its region at a standstill over the shortages. This African giant is now experiencing vehicles deserted in the streets, enormous black market fuel sales, and angry residents on strike entirely due to the lack of diesel fuel. Concern for the fuel shortage was voiced back in March when Buhari was elected as Nigeria’s new president in the nation’s most tightly contested election.
Nigeria first felt the pinch when international oil prices plummeted by half earlier this year, and the nation’s local currency plunged. Fuel marketers denied Nigeria any more fuel until their one billion-dollar debt was paid in full, thus forcing Nigerian residents to scrape by with a meager fuel supply and leaving some residents at home for months with no electricity. Businesses, specifically telecommunications, finally felt the sting of the fuel shortage this weekend as two of the nation’s top domestic airlines, Arik and Aero, were completely grounded on Saturday, and the GT Bank closed their branches nationwide this Monday. Transport fare as well as food has doubled and even tripled in price due to the scarcity of fuel.
This comes on the heels of President-elect Buhari’s inauguration-- which is set for this Friday. As fuel scarcity spreads throughout Nigeria, Buhari supporters are met with the obstacle of finding ways to get to the inaugural event. With flights severely limited, and the threat of armed robberies via ground transportation, supporters are now formulating new detours. As Nigeria continues to fold under the fuel shortage, President-elect Buhari must map out a plan to combat this fuel crisis before the oil-reliant region completely shuts down.
Fortunately, a solution may come much sooner than we think now that BBC Africa has released a tweet on Monday stating quote “Nigeria's fuel wholesalers have reached a deal with the government that should soon see the end of the fuel crisis.” According to the Associated Press, former president Goodluck Jonathon's outgoing party has agreed to pay a sum of $800 million to resolve the months long fuel shortage. With oil gradually trickling back in the region, it is possible Nigeria could be on the verge of finally regaining its footing in this oil dilemma.