Nigeria fuel crisis spawns thriving black market

Africa's top oil producer reels from severe fuel shortage, blamed for long queues at petrol stations nationwide.

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    Abuja, Nigeria - Long lines of vehicles have extended outside petrol stations in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, this week, where frustrated motorists say they have waited for upwards of 10 hours amid a severe, countrywide fuel shortage.

    "I've been on queue since last night," motorist Abednego Abna told Al Jazeera, outside a petrol station in Abuja.

    "And up until this moment, there is no sign of our vehicle moving from its position, to [any] hope of getting the fuel."

    The Nigerian government is struggling to deal with the situation and has placed the blame on the shoulders of petrol vendors, whom it accuses of dramatically increasing prices.

    But the vendors in Africa's top oil-producing country have disputed this accusation.

    Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris, reporting from Abuja, explained that in the past the Nigerian government imported whatever fuel it needed through a subsidy system, but that system "was hijacked by corrupt officials and businessmen".

    Last year, when the government stopped subsidising petrol, "the cost of a litre jumped by 60 percent", he said.

    The situation has led to a thriving black market and some vendors have resorted to selling petrol for double the price.

    Many Nigerians say the fuel crisis has caused prices to skyrocket in other areas, too.

    Idris Mohammad, a trader, said "the cost of everything has gone up".

    "Prices have doubled. Everyone is affected by the problem," he told Al Jazeera.


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