Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, says the major cause of the fuel scarcity across the country is the shortfall in supply of petroleum products. Kachikwu made this known at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday. He, however, said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, was making efforts to ensure that queues at filling stations disappear in a couple of days. “Presently, queues in Lagos have reduced. We know that Lagos, Abuja, Benue, Port Harcourt were among the worst-hit areas,” he said. “Benue has been dealt with; Port Harcourt is quite moderated. Apart from these areas, other places in the country are probably liquid. “The major problem is the gap in terms of volume because NNPC is the only one importing the product to the country.” The minister said there is an adequate storage facility for imported products, adding that emergency measures were in place to ensure that the products were available during the Yuletide and beyond. He said four vessels laden with petroleum products would berth “in a few days and a total of 20 cargoes are also expected with petroleum products”. Kachikwu said the NNPC had as of Wednesday, discharged products at its depots, adding that emergency supply, quick truck delivery and stricter monitoring were measures adopted to ensure that queues disappeared. He added that NNPC would use additional trucking to major cities using strategic reserves from Suleja, Minna, Gusau and Gombe. This, he said, would help to service Abuja, Kano and Sokoto axis to feed the north-west, north-east. “I have asked the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency to ensure stricter sanctions on any station that refuses to abide by the rules,” he said. “They need to take a firm action to ensure that we get quick results.” On a long-term strategy to solve the menace, he said the ultimate result would come when the refineries resumed optimal production. The minister said work would commence effectively in the refineries in January.