Bleak Christmas in Oil-Rich Nigeria as Fuel Scarcity Disrupts Holiday Commute Home

Traffic in Lagos, Nigeria. Photo from 2008 by BBC World Service. CC BY-NC 2.0

Many Nigerians spent several hours stuck in their vehicles, stranded on the road and unable to commute to their homes for Christmas as Africa’s biggest oil producer faces crippling petroleum shortages.

For some, the travel ordeal stretched into the early hours of December 25 as thousands of drivers lined up at fuelling stations hoping to make it in time for the Christmas celebration. Some transport companies have suspended services for the year, while others have hiked fares by 300%. It is a source of frustration in a country that has a strong tradition of uniting with family for Christmas.

Video published on Twitter by @i_am_Anomeli showed just how long one of the queues stretched in the city of Abuja:

Speaking publicly for the first time about the crippling gasoline shortages three weeks after it first started, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said:

NNPC refers to the state oil corporation.

But critics were quick to point out that Buhari's message came quickly after one published by Atiku Abubakar, who was the vice president during the previous administration and a potential rival in the upcoming 2019 Nigerian presidential elections:

Some theorized the president's statement was prompted by his potential rival's tweet.

Amid the crisis, some citizens of Nigeria, a place once ranked most optimistic on earth, have proven they do know how to stay happy. Twitter user Jude had this to share from a fueling station in Lere, a town in one of the northwest states of Nigeria:

However, not everyone seems happy. Many are furious, and some resorted to memes (PMB refers to President Buhari):

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