ABUJA, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Nigeria's state oil company assured motorists on Tuesday there was no shortage of petrol and urged them not to engage in panic buying after long queues built up at filling stations.
Lengthy fuel queues were reported by motorists on Tuesday across Nigeria, including in the commercial capital Lagos, in the southwest, the northwestern city of Kaduna and the capital, Abuja, in the centre of the country.
The state oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said rumours that pump prices would increase in the run-up to Christmas had contributed to the increased demand for petrol. It said the price rise fears were unfounded.
"I wish to call on all Nigerians to stop panic buying. We have said times without number that NNPC has sufficient products to cater for the needs of all consumers," Maikantu Baru, the NNPC's group managing director, said in an emailed statement.
Petrol shortages have brought Nigeria to a standstill in the last few years through day-long queues for fuel, widespread power cuts at businesses that rely on petrol-driven generators to withstand frequent power outages and grounded planes.
Those shortages were largely caused by fuel importers struggling to find dollars to pay for refined oil products.
NNPC said Baru had cut short a trip to London to oversee the handling of the situation.
It said he had ordered more petroleum products to be dispatched nationwide "to cushion the effects of excessive demand caused by panic buying" before travelling to Britain. (Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Additional reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha in Lagos, Garba Muhammad in Kaduna and Abraham Achirga in Abuja; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Adrian Croft)