A JOINT Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on Petroleum Resources yesterday directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to end the lingering fuel scarcity within seven days.

The committee also asked the Nigeria Customs Service and other security agencies, especially those at the borders, to halt the alleged diversion of fuel to neighbouring countries.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Kabiru Marafa, gave the ultimatum after a closed door meeting.

The meeting was preceded by another meeting with the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, and other officials of NNPC.

The lawmakers demanded explanations from the NNPC on the lingering shortage and the return of the queues.

Senator Marafa was said to have described the situation as embarrassing and acknowledged that though NNPC tried to end the shortage during the yuletide, the return of the queues in Lagos and Abuja showed that the problem was not completely over.

Marafa was said to have insisted: “This situation has lingered for too long. The public are suffering and when they are suffering, we cannot sit and say all is well.

“At a point, you told us the problem has been solved; we also saw that the queues disappeared for some time, but unfortunately, they have returned.

“You even went round stations, monitoring the situation, but you have been unable to resolve the issue. In any situation, when your best is not good enough, it is very bad and most unfortunate.”

He told the NNPC to brief the committee on the reasons for the resurging long queues; what it had been doing to resolve the challenge and how long it would take for the queues to disappear completely.

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