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Almost 9 Hours Trying to Get Fuel! BellaNaijarian Chima Onyewuchi Shares His Fuel Scarcity Experience



Fuel-ScarcityThankfully the fuel situation is easing up a little. I bought fuel under 30 minutes in Maryland yesterday. Last weekend, it was a different story. I spent about 9 hours queuing for fuel at the petrol station. Yes 9 hours! I basically spent my entire day there, thereby missing my beloved Manchester United’s game. Yes, I still love United despite the fact that Mr Philosophy is gradually turning us into a mediocre club. Anyway, back to the story I am here to tell.

I woke up that morning feeling all chirpy and excited; thinking about how much of a great Sunday I was going to have. Got up early so I could make it for first mass – all with the aim of starting my day early. I had it in mind that I needed to get fuel for the coming week – buying fuel on Sundays has sort of become a tradition for me. Also, I envisaged that it might be a struggle, given the scarcity, so I put a t-shirt in my car because I knew I would need to be as comfortable as possible and the shirt I was wearing to church won’t have given me that. Mass ended at about 9am so I sharply got into my car changed into my t-shirt and headed to Ikoyi from Surulere.

The beginning
I decided to make a quick stop at the ATM at Lagos City Mall then also decided to buy food (I should have bought lunch and even dinner too) for the long day ahead. By long I thought the most I would be on the queue was 2/3 hours, little did I know. Got to petrol station at about 10am.

First – Second Hour
I joined the queue at one of the petrol stations on Awolowo Road which by this time had extended into Ribadu Road. I had to drive from the beginning of the queue to get to the end of it. During this drive I was trying to count the cars on the queue but I had to stop because I was close to tears. But I decided to brush it aside – there should be no room for negativity and sadness especially after spending 2 hours with God. So I parked my car behind this couple – they were the last car on the queue.

Third – Fourth Hour
The sun had really started to come out and it was starting to get hot. The queue was moving very slowly and cars had started to queue up behind me. ”. At this point, one lady who lived around there was laughing and shouting – “una no go buy bread and butter? Hunger go kill una o”. I chuckled to myself knowing that I came prepared. I had started getting hungry so I brought out my food and munched, thinking to myself – “oh Chima you are a very calculating man. You brought food so you won’t be hungry during your 2-3 hour wait. At this point, one woman tried to shunt and trust Nigerians to bring out their verbal guns “Oloriburuku! DO you think we are stupid?!” etc.

Fifth Hour
Forgot to mention earlier that I also packed my laptop because I knew I would need to charge my phones. So I brought it out and started charging the almost dead phones while watching the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy on it. The queue was barely moving at this point, but at least I was not bored so I was still good. I applauded myself for the proactive thinking. People had already started getting impatient and were leaving the queue. I was happy, it meant fewer cars to my El Dorado

Sixth – Seventh Hour
All batteries dead, the sun had come out in its full glory – the heat was intense. Sanity had started to leave me and I was even considering taking off my shirt. My God it was hot, sweat was dripping all over my body. The queue had stopped moving entirely at this point, I wanted to cry and even just leave but I knew I will be doing myself – “how I wan take reach office the next day?” Got out of the car to stretch my legs a bit and see if I could find shade but even the shade (a nearby tree) was fully occupied. That is where I heard that the petrol station had stopped selling fuel – more people started leaving. This was 2pm, I had already stayed for close to 5 hours, so what was the point leaving? I was determined (in Kanu’s voice) to get fuel.

I was beginning to get hungry again so I went back to the car and did what I thought I would never do. I opened the take away pack (thank God I did not throw it away) and started eating the chicken skin and bones (I normally don’t eat this part of chicken). This was when I knew that omo! When you are very hungry you will eat anything (okay maybe not anything but almost anything). My bottle of water had finished a while ago and I was freaking thirsty. The Igbo man in me started thinking about the missed business opportunity that was staring at me – What if I was selling cold bottled water to people on the queue, imagine how much I would have made? Probably enough to pay for half of my fuel.

The Manchester United versus Everton game had started at this point so I turned on my car stereo to listen and even the AC – I did not care anymore if the little fuel I had was going to finish, I was not going to die of heat. Thankfully we won. Something to smile about.

Eighth Hour
I decided to take a walk to the petrol station to see if I could appeal to anyone or at least see for myself what the issue really was. I had not gotten halfway when I saw people running back to their cars. They had started selling again! Usain Bolt would have had nothing on me at that point. See race!! We had started moving again, faster this time.

So, there was a commercial bus that had been behind me, all this while. I think fuel had finished in it because the driver and conductor had to keep pushing it whenever the queue moved, I pitied them. Anyway, they were nowhere to be found when we started moving again, so about 4 cars jumped them on the queue. Apparently the conductor had gone to buy cigarettes and the driver himself had gone to buy water. Unluckily for the conductor, the driver came back first to see what had happened. He almost beat up the conductor, even sacked him right there and then but that one got on his knees and started begging, even promised not to smoke again.

Ninth Hour
It finally got to my turn at a little after 7pm. I was exhausted, like my whole body was shaking. I filled my tank while reminiscing about how my entire day went. If anyone had told me that I would one day spend 8 hours trying to buy fuel I would never have believed.

On the bright side, there were some lessons learnt from the experience. When going to buy fuel during scarcity, go with a partner, friend, sibling anyone but just don’t go alone. Remember the couple I mentioned earlier? They interchanged a few times. The husband went to buy food for them while his wife drove. That’s goals right there (I kid biko, which kind goals). Lesson two, quit smoking.

Ladies and gentlemen, the end. What’s your fuel scarcity story? Hope it has not been as bad as mine.

Chima studied Demography & Social Statistics at Obafemi Awolowo University and currently works as business analyst in a leading online marketplace. He loves music and is a part-time DJ. You can find him on Instagram @chiwuzy and twitter @_wuzy_


  1. Kikelola

    April 11, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    I don’t understand how there’s such little supply of fuel in an oil-producing nation. I can’t help but think how backwards and unbelievable this occurrence is.

  2. Mekz

    April 11, 2016 at 7:58 pm


    Omo 9 hours no be beans o. Good thing is you got fuel, it would have been a sad story if the fuel at the station finished as it got to your turn.

    Nice one

  3. Rose

    April 11, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    So I just got back from the doctors office…a lump was found in my breast and I will need a biopsy… Thank you for making me laugh reall good with this your unpleasant story…. Despite the pain you were still able to create humor and be positive about your situation…. Now that’s something I have learned… LMAO….PS, Jesus Christ has got me so am not scared….


      April 11, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      It is well with you my darling. By the stripes of Jesus you are healed.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      April 11, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      Rose, we don’t know each other but I sense your worry and fear. It must have been really, really scary news to hear.

      Praying for you that God in His Mercy will nullify any whispering of ill health threatened over your body and grant you that miracle of complete healing which you desire. Matt 19:26 “… but with God, all things are possible”. I know it’s easier to say than do, but just keep fixing your mind to Him (& His promises) rather than on your report and by His eternal Grace, it’ll be well with you. In Jesus’ Mighty Name.

    • tunmi

      April 12, 2016 at 5:33 pm

      I hope it was caught early. I wish fortitude. I’ll keep an eye out for your comments.

  4. seyiakano

    April 11, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Lovely humour from a gruelling incident. Well, my fuel scarcity story is arriving Lagos for the Easter holidays with a million and one ideas to turn up. I ended up leaving having stayed at home for much of the holiday, cos there was literally no fuel in town.

  5. Delta geh

    April 11, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    This story cracked me up! Especially the part where you had to finish up the chicken skin and bones! Great story!

  6. Chima

    April 11, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    Hi Rose, You will be fine in Jesus Name. Be strong.

  7. Nonye

    April 12, 2016 at 12:45 am

    The conductor was sacked on the spot. Lol..It’s okay for him to get another job.. Awesome article. ..nicely written…weldone Chima!

  8. Rose

    April 12, 2016 at 1:10 am

    Thanks guys for your prayers XOXO

    • sultana

      April 12, 2016 at 10:00 am

      it is well with you Rose. I pray divine and lasting healing upon you in Jesus name!

    • Bobosteke & Lara Buan

      April 12, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      Don’t be afraid to be scared, Rose. Don’t deny your fears. Show them to God, discuss them with friends and family. No need for spiritual quotes when what you want to really ask is “why me?”…

      Only then can healing be complete. He would heal your thoughts, your disposition and then to your body so that you can genuinely share strength with yourself and then with others even when theirs fail on your behalf. But He can only do this if you are honest with your feelings.

      We are all praying for you, Rose. Please keep us posted.

  9. joyce

    April 12, 2016 at 1:27 am

    I laughed hard reading your story but my experience wasn’t funny either. Last week Tuesday to be precise, i woke as early as 5:30am to drop my bro off at the airport and planned to hustle for fuel for the day with two 25litres kegs. We thankfully got to the airport through the wonderful traffic caused by the long fuel queue from the Forte oil station, thinking that was over i spent another 1hr 30mins from Arik departure entrance to the express everybody was stuck because of another long queue from the Conoil station at the express during which i began to calculate on possible locations to get fuel too. Getting to the first station on my mind the queue was not so much i jejely joined parked my car and carried my kegs to join the keg line because it moved faster than the cars meanwhile i kept shuttling going to move my car forward and monitoring the kegs too. just two kegs to mine the fuel finished after spending about 3-4hours….. Chai!!! i no fit shout. Determined and focused i left and started hunting for another station which i found and joined the queue again this time i wasnt ready to go join any mumu keg line cause these one was longer than river Niger. meanwhile, i hadnt eaten or drank anything and frustration started setting in i only consoled myself with music Now i had spent 5hrs only for me to hear ‘We are no more selling’…… it wasnt funny trust Nigerians they started reigning causes on them i carried myself home and decided to come back the next day while on my way home at about 6pm i saw another station selling for 200naira with few motorist i joined the line once again and thankfully i was able to fill up everything fillable. after buying for such amount i refused using the AC in my car and now run the generator for lesser time. The hardship is real. May GOD help us, AMEN!!!!!

  10. blue

    April 12, 2016 at 4:49 am

    I know some1 that went to Nnpc mega station to buy fuel at 2am and bought at 6pm, do d maths. I’m seriously praying for this country

  11. Miss Mo

    April 12, 2016 at 4:49 am

    Lmaooooo. Please this guy Chima I want to marry you.

    You should be an actor abeg….lol. 😀

  12. Oya!!

    April 12, 2016 at 6:34 am

    And yet we are Africa’s # 1 Oil producer… We are engorged with OIL… and look at this.. people queuing to get that scarce wataaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  13. Mekz

    April 12, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Rose,you will be fine. I trust you have so much love around you to keep you strong. God’s grace!

  14. sultana

    April 12, 2016 at 10:01 am

    funny and also painful article! Well done Chima!

  15. CK_1

    April 12, 2016 at 11:37 am

    LOL!!! Mine was a bit similar to yours Chima. The most painful part was that after queuing for so long, I could only buy fuel into my car, cos they refused to sell into my 25 liters gallon. Meaning I just suffered for about 40 liters of fuel, and that I would most likely repeat this wahala in less than 2 weeks. Kai!!! Baba God PLEASE have mercy on us

  16. Edu

    April 12, 2016 at 11:40 am

    I feel your pain I once queued for 2hrs under hot sun for fuel. my body was cracked up after.

  17. Xiomara

    April 12, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Bia Chima,I bu nno onye…..make I no complete am, Lol at your experience. that’s naija for you, let’s be proactive people and voice out our grievances, enough of this siddon look attitude o

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