Nigeria Fuel Subsidy Removal: The pains of a New Year ‘gift’

“Motorists, commuters groan under  Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Authority (PPPRA)-induced fuel hike” 

LIKE the Biblical thief in the night, the fuel subsidy removal came on New Year Day with its concomitant implications on the socio-economic life of Nigerians.

Search for fuel continued at the NNPC Mega Station Mushin, Lagos PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

If the sudden upward review of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, was soaked in the New Year celebration on Sunday, the spectre has begun to show its fangs.

What with apprehensive motorists out in search of filling stations willing to sell, commuters stranded at bus stops, available commercial buses raising fares as much as 100 per cent, the pain is endless.

In Ipaja area of Alimosho Local Council in Lagos, a fare that was N50, commuters now payN70, while most filling stations in the area sell a litre of Petrol for N140.

A conductor who simply gave his name as Ikechukwu told The Guardian, they now buy a litre of petrol for N140 and it became obvious that it was the commuters that would bear the cost

“On the first day of the year, we could work because most of the petrol stations were locked. But today (yesterday), we were able to get fuel but at N140 and for us to meet up our target we had to increase the fare. Initially a trip from Ipaja to Iyana Ipaja that used to attract N70 now goes for N100. If we don’t do this, we cannot meet up our target,” he said.

A commuter, Innocent Andrew, said the government had finally done its worst by taking away the only thing Nigerians enjoyed, adding that: “It is now clear that this government does not mean well for Nigerians because if it meant well, it would not go ahead with the subsidy removal despite the overwhelming campaign against the idea,” he said.

Andrew, an executive in a financial institution, added, the hardship would become obvious when work resumes all over the country after the holiday.

On Agege Motor Road, the fare was hiked by 50 per cent with most commuters stranded at bus stops across the state.

Meanwhile, long queues were feasible at the few filling stations that dared to sell with the old price while many of them closed.

A lot of people were stranded on the road.  At Oshodi, people were seen roaming about without any vehicles to convey them to their destinations.

The ever-busy Ikeja Bus Stop was also affected. People were seen standing and waiting for vehicles that were not forthcoming. The few vehicles that were on the road hiked their fares.  While some filling stations had adjusted their pump price, some chose not to open at all.

This left commuters at the mercy of few vehicles that were on the road. Drivers and conductors were not having it easy at all with commuters, as some of them were not aware of the fuel subsidy removal.

Vehicles plying Oshodi to Mile Two that used to charge N100.00 increased the fare to N150.00.   Those plying Oshodi to Sango-Toll Gate increased from N150 to N300;

Oshodi to Berger rose from N100 to N200.

Passengers coming from Igando to Iyana Ipaja  paid  N150.00  instead of N80 while to Egbeda was raised from N70.00 to N100.00. From Iyana Ipaja to Ayobo, went up from N80.00 to N150 while Iyana Ipaja to Ipaja rose from N50.00 to N100.00.

Even the short distance from Ikotun to Igando that used to be N30.00 became N50.00

A businessman, Mr. Adekunle Ajala, who decided to visit some friends along with his family, on the New Year day and then, to the beach said: “as we were going, I noticed that most filling stations were closed and there were long queues at the few petrol stations that were opened. I got scared knowing full well that I was about to face same as I had little fuel in my car.

“I entered a filling station along Abeokuta Expressway, joined the queue, waited for my turn and bought.

“We spent our New Year there. I had to fight my way to get petrol at N141 per litre. My children got disappointed because they were looking forward to this outing.  I never knew subsidy removal was going to take effect this period. This is not the best time,” he concluded.

A mother of three, Mrs. Theresa Okafor, lamented that it would be very difficult for her to transport the children to and from school when school resumes on Monday.

“How will I be able to pay transport to take my children to school and bring them back after closure everyday? It will be painful,” she lamented.

Another resident, Ubong Gregory, told The Guardian “that:  I cannot fathom the reason behind this removal at this time of the year. It’s the beginning of the year and I find it so annoying to be faced with this kind of situation. This is a period when all money has been spent. Why can’t the government reason implementing policies.

“This has been the fear of Nigerians and it has come at the end. This increase will definitely make those who travelled home to be stranded.  For those that travelled to Enugu from Lagos for Christmas and New Year festivities, it costs N10,000 per person to come back So, a family of five that traveled will have to budget N50,000 to come back,” he said.


By Olalekan Okusan, Isaac Taiwo and Beauty Edia 

Source: The Guardian

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