• Fuel scarcity worsens citizens’ woes

    Fuel scarcity worsens citizens woes - nigeria newspapers online
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    •Nigerians cry out over soaring cost of petrol, foodstuff, hike in electricity tariff, others


    From Desmond Mgboh (Kano), Seye Ojo (Ibadan), Lukman Olabiyi (Lagos), Laide Raheem (Abeokuta), Scholastica Hir (Makurdi), Bamigbola Gbolagunte (Akure), Sylvanus Viashima (Jalingo),  Paul Orude (Bauchi), Ogbonnaya Ndukwe (Aba), Isaac Job (Uyo), Jude Owuamanam (Jos), Tony John (Port Harcourt), Lateef Dada (Osogbo), Femi Folaranmi (Yenagoa), Billy Graham Abel (Yola), John Adams (Minna), Paul Osuyi (Asaba), Priscilla Ediare (Ado-Ekiti), Timothy Olanrewaju (Maiduguri), Felix Ikem (Nsukka), Ighomuaye Lucky (Benin), Emmanuel Adeyemi (Lokoja), Olanrewaju Lawal (Birnin Kebbi), Sola Ojo (Kaduna)



    Fuel scarcity worsens citizens woes - nigeria newspapers onlineFuel scarcity worsens citizens woes - nigeria newspapers online

    Nigerians are groaning under the yoke of worsening economic crunch. For many, the high cost of living is becoming unbearable. High cost of petrol, which now sells above N1,000 per litre in some parts of the country, including Abuja, the nation’s capital and Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of the country, has affected costs of transportation, production, goods and services.

    Prices of food items have hit the rooftop with families struggling to survive. The dire situation in the country is worsened by the recent increase in electricity tariff, which seems to have pushed the manufacturing sector to the wall.

    Reports from across the country indicate that hardship has deepened beyond expectations.

    Fuel scarcity worsens citizens woes - nigeria newspapers onlineFuel scarcity worsens citizens woes - nigeria newspapers online


    Rabiu Saheed, a resident of Ikorodu, told Saturday Sun that the impact of fuel subsidy removal and its scarcity, electricity tariff hike and high costs of food items have brought unbearable pain to his family.  Suraju Hamzat, a tailor and resident of Mushin area, knocked the government for making life unbearable for the masses.

    He said fuel scarcity, electricity tariff hike and skyrocketing food prices were deliberate attempts to make life difficult for the common man as his business has suffered a major setback.


    Adejobi Esther, a graduate of education management, who operates a restaurant at Adigbe Junction, Obada-Oko along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, lamented that the fuel scarcity has worsened the already precarious economic situation in the country. The price of charcoal, which she uses for cooking, has soared from N3,000 to between N7,500 and N8,000, even as cooking gas has gone out of her reach.

    “We were complaining about the high cost of food stuff and poor electricity supply, now we are battling with non availability of fuel. For me, this is a breaking point! How does the government want us to survive? Since schools resumed on Monday, my children have not gone to school.”

    For Michael Adeoye, a lecturer in one of the private polytechnics in Ewekoro, the current situation in the country has compelled him to squat with a friend living close to his place of work as result of the fuel scarcity, which has made commuting from his home to the office almost impossible.


    Chidimma Ogbu, who resides in a highbrow area of Makurdi, said the new electricity tariff is annoying and very frustrating. “I prefer the previous tariff. Right now a lot of my appliances are off. If I have to use one, I must put off every other thing to manage the units.

    “I got 670 units for N50,000 and 208 for the same N50,000 under the new tariff structure,” she said.

    Also speaking, Dr Christopher Iior, a lecturer at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, lamented that he gets between N25,000 and N30,000 as an estimated bill every month.

    He also told Saturday Sun that most businesses that depend on public supply have either folded up or are on the verge of doing so. Another resident, Ogbise Deborah, a teacher and business consultant in Makurdi, said the federal government must rethink the policies on fuel, electricity tariff and food security.


    Residents of Akure, the Ondo State capital and other major towns in the state are currently going through serious hardship as fuel scarcity persists in the state. A few filling stations that sell fuel in the state sell between N900 and N1,000 with long queues at the filling stations.

    Omotayo Iyanda, a vehicle owner said, “For two days now. I have parked my car at home because I couldn’t get fuel. Even if I see fuel, I can’t afford to buy it at the outrageous price that they sell it. The situation is unbearable.

    Electricity consumers in the state have also condemned the hike in electricity tariff, complaining that the hike is unjustifiable considering the epileptic power supply in the state.


    For many residents of Jalingo, the state capital, power outage and hike in electricity tariff, fuel scarcity and astronomical rise in prices of food items, lack of water, cost of transportation, and the natural phenomenon of heat wave, are a disaster that may leave the people too little options than resort to self-help of any form.

    Yahaya Yakubu, a resident, said that “This is one of the most frustrating situations in my life. My little children are learning to endure the attitudes and recklessness of tricycle riders. I can’t believe that I am a Nigerian experiencing this in my own country.”

    Victor Uloko, a resident of Angwankassa in Jalingo said, “While the fuel scarcity continues to bite harder by the day, power outage that has lasted for almost two weeks now has added to the people’s frustration and unbearable suffering, considering that Taraba’s average temperature nears 45°.

    For Aisha Sambo, it is nothing but a painful experience. “Look at this heat. They have now decided that we should not even have light, no water, no fuel, no food, just suffering. Do we have a government that is sensitive at all? Does it mean that they don’t know what we are going through?”


    Nusaiba Muhammad, a grinding machine operator, told Saturday Sun: “There are people in my area that don’t see food to eat for three days.  People are no longer feeding well. It’s kunu that people drink for days because they cannot afford to buy food and many are hungry.

    “Women are the ones suffering more than the men. Husbands leave their homes with wives and children and when these children cry of hunger only women will be there. We don’t know what is happening in this country.”

    Alex Oyewole, a Bauchi-based businessman lamented that the government needs to do something about the current situation in the country otherwise people will start reacting and it will be too late. “Currently, we are buying fuel at N1500 per litre in Bauchi. Is the government not aware?”


    Jerry Kalu, an industrialist and former president of Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA), said it is absurd for the government to export crude oil for refining and at the same time repurchasing same for sale at exorbitant pump prices to Nigerians, whose earnings were less than a dollar per day.

    “Why won’t the government rehabilitate the refineries in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri, to refine crude oil for sale locally? This is our problem. Cost of living is dictated by the price they sell petrol, diesel and kerosene. Nigerians are suffering and the authorities are looking the other way.”

    Speaking in the same vein, a transporter, Chief Dozie Chikezie, said as a nation relying so much on oil production for economic growth and sustenance, the Nigerian government ought to have local refineries, including modular ones to flood the markets with the products that power the economy.

    While noting that a hike in transportation was a major problem in determining costs of essential goods, especially food items, Chikezie, said a situation where petroleum products pump prices are fixed without recourse to the people’s wellbeing, was responsible for the current hardship.

    Akwa Ibom

    Workers and commuters in Akwa Ibom State have continued to express concern over the prevailing hike in the price of petrol while some hotels have remained shut following increased electricity tariffs announced by the federal government recently.

    Last week, a disagreement between the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association (NOGASA) and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in the state heightened the price of petrol in the state to N1800 per litre.

    Market women who spoke with our reporter in Itam Market insisted that the high cost of petrol is the reason behind the increase in prices of foodstuffs in the market.

    Apart from private homes, Saturday Sun gathered that the worst hit in the electricity tariffs increment are hoteliers, cottage industry operators and small-scale manufacturers such as pure water factories, beer parlour operators and cold room owners.

    An operations manager in one of the hotels in the city said the hotel was expecting a bill of N18 million when the new electricity tariff comes into effect.


    In Jos, the Plateau State capital, residents are lamenting the scarcity of fuel and the hike in pump price.

    The situation has led to an increase in local transport fares. Terminus to Bukuru is now N400 up from N250. Also, fares for inter-state travel have increased depending on the transport company.

    Investigation by Saturday Sun revealed most major marketers have been without fuel for the past two weeks, while NNPC manages to dispense sometimes, selling at 740 per litre.

    Lamenting the situation, a driver, Amos Adamu, said that he abandoned his vehicle because he couldn’t afford to buy at the new price.

    A commuter who gave her name as Ejiro, said she lives in Jos metropolis but works in Bukuru, and could no longer afford the high cost of transporting herself to work every day. “I pleaded with my employers to allow me go to work for three days in a week,” she said.


    Some residents of Port Harcourt who spoke to Saturday Sun said no matter the hardship, they would not give up. According to them, hoping that the federal government would get it right, by improving the citizens’ living standard, is unrealistic.

    Chief Omubo Harry, an elder statesman, berated Nigerian leaders and government for the hardship they have brought to the citizens.

    Reacting to the perennial fuel hike and high electricity tariff, the traditional ruler said Nigerians had expected that with the removal of fuel subsidy President Bola Tinubu would bring transformational change to the country.

    “But the reverse is the case. It is a shame that every time, we would be talking about fuel scarcity and a hike in pump price. This is a problem that only the federal government knows how to solve.”


    Residents of Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, are facing immense hardship due to the exorbitant prices of petrol at fuel stations owned by independent marketers of the commodity.

    Fuel stations across Ibadan raised their prices for a litre of petroleum drastically from M640, N660 to between N900 and N1,300, except the NNPCL stations that have managed to maintain a price of N580 per litre. A tour of Ibadan revealed that the fuel shortage has inadvertently given rise to a thriving black market, where petrol is sold for an astounding N6,000 for four litres.

    As a result, transport fares have doubled, putting further strain on an already distressed populace. A tricycle operator, Sikiru Adeola, stated: “On Tuesday this week, I went to the nearest NNPC outlet to my house at 4 am, and I bought petrol by 12noon. On Wednesday, I also went to the same NNPC outlet by 4 am and it was my turn by 10 am. What do you expect me to do after queuing for six or eight hours? I will have to increase the money that I charge for ferrying passengers.”


    Fuel scarcity has paralysed business activities in Osun State as many petrol stations have shut their doors while the few that are selling are crowded despite selling for between N640 and N2,000.

    A trader, Gbenga Faturoti, described the situation as pathetic, saying the fuel and electricity increment have badly affected business activities.

    He said, “We were forced to use fuel to produce because of epileptic power supply despite the increment. With the current problem, there is no patronage and loss is setting in because we are using the little we have to buy food at exorbitant prices.” Similarly, an artisan, Saka Waheed, lamented that the electricity tariff hike and fuel scarcity have crippled his business.

    “We have never experienced this kind of fuel scarcity in the history of Nigeria. Some people are selling between N1,000 and N1,500. We don’t know the reason we are facing this problem.”


    Dr. Esuefieni Jubilee Etigbamo, a member of the Academic Staff Union of Colleges of Education, said the situation is very pathetic. “It is like the ruling class does not want the masses to live again. It seems they want us to stay at the back of the Atlantic Ocean. The poor man on the streets cannot feed, people can no longer pay electricity bills, fuel is out of the reach of the people. Nigeria is getting too hard for the common man and the civil servant.”

    Dr. Anthony Akpe, a member of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, said the government should look for ways to regulate prices. “The salaries we earn are not commensurate with the rising prices of goods.”

    Comrade Singer Thankgod, President NULGE, Bayelsa chapter, said: “The situation is hard on us.  It is not easy. As civil servants our salaries can no longer cater for the cost of living caused by the high rate of inflation. We are pleading for an increase in minimum wage and other measures that would ameliorate the suffering of our workers.”


    Hikes in fuel price, food and electricity tariff crises are having adverse effects on the people of Ebonyi State.

    Many indigenes of the state said life has become unbearable for them as a result of high costs of living.

    Mrs. Florence Okoro, who resides in Abakaliki said, “I have taken the decision that I will no longer drive my car until maybe the price of fuel reduces.”

    For Ezechukwu Nnanna, a father of three, to eat two meals in a day is very difficult because of the high cost of food items.

    “Food is very costly now. A cup of rice is now N360. So, I have been suffering a lot because I no longer eat three times a day, and my children no longer eat three square meals. We are starving,” he lamented.


    Residents of Yola, Adamawa State have raised the alarm over the high cost of petrol, electricity tariff and food prices.

    Some of the residents who spoke to Saturday Sun expressed sadness that the government has failed them.

    “Here in Yola, we have not had light for about two weeks now, they said their facilities were vandalized, I don’t believe anything they say.

    “With this recent rise in prices of PMS and the electricity tariff, we just live one day at a time. When you wake up today and have food for your family, the one for tomorrow depends on God and how the day goes,” said Adamu, a tricycle operator.

    Another resident of Doubeli, a suburb of Yola, Margerate Samuel, said,

    “I can’t just make sense of what is going on in this country. How is increasing fuel price a progress to any of us except for the people selling it and the government?”


    From rising cost of food items to hike in electricity tariff, and now fuel scarcity leading to increase in the pump price, residents of Minna, Niger State said the current situation has brought untold hardship upon them.

    According to the North Central Zonal Chairman, Campaign for Democracy, Human Rights Advocacy and civil society of Nigeria, Comrade Dr. Abdullahi Jabi, Nigerians are the only people in the world that can tolerate the current man made hardship in the country.

    “Nigerians do not deserve what they are going through as citizens in the hands of their leaders in a country where there is abundance of wealth and human resources.


    Residents of Asaba, Delta State capital, have described the current economic situation as unbearable, calling on the authorities to urgently intervene and save the poor masses.

    Christopher Nwabiani, a resident who spoke with our correspondent, lamented that despite the cut throat price of fuel, the commodity was not available.

    “As we speak now in my area that is DLA, Jesus Saves and Ibusa Road axis of the town, we have not seen electricity supply for five days. Yet they have increased the tariff for such essential service. They have increased the tariff and expect the people to continue to pay for darkness. The little food that our family income can afford has gone bad because we could not preserve it as a result of power outage. We have since packed up the family’s power generating set as a result of the high cost of fuel.”

    A female respondent, Becky Jideofor said as a house wife, she has applied all the known methods to reasonably cut down costs, yet she is overwhelmed by market forces as food prices have continued to soar.


    In Ado-Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti State, the roads have been deserted since fuel scarcity began.

    Arimiyau Oyesiji, said he has cut down on his purchases and sometimes he covers some distances by trekking.

    “I have reduced the quantity of food I buy; I cut short my daily movement because transport fare is now about 200 per cent increase; I trek to many places. As for the electricity hike, there is nothing we can do about that other than to pay the bill to avoid disconnection, but I am begging the government and those concerned to please bring down the tariff to what the majority of citizens can afford.”

    Prof. Adebayo Olanrewaju, a senior lecturer at Ekiti State University, said: “I go to work only when I have lectures; when I have supervision sessions with my students or when I have important meetings; and ensure that before I return home I attend to all necessary things that may require me to come to town again.”

    For Venerable Oso Ebenezer Oluwarotimi, a civil servant, he and members of his family have reduced the number of meals they take per day and also reduced their visit to places.


    Residents in Borno State have said that the current petrol scarcity, which triggered an increase in pump price and the return of long queues at petrol stations, has worsened their sufferings.

    Bukar Ahmed, a resident of Maiduguri who works in the private sector, said the current fuel crisis is worsening his pains.

    “It is adding to our pains here in Borno. Prices of food have been high in the state since the insurgency started. It worsened when the subsidy on petrol was removed. This current crisis is increasing our suffering,” he told Saturday Sun.

    Usman Wakil, a civil servant said he parked his car and resorted to taking the state public transport to his office in the Post Office Area since last week due to high cost of petrol and its scarcity.

    With the fuel scarcity and high cost, powering generators for energy supply in a state with poor electricity and severe heat, is now impossible even as temperature rises to 47 degrees Celsius.


    At the University town of Nsukka, Enugu State, some residents have decried the current economic situation, lamenting that most households are living from hand to mouth.

    Solomon Gwiyi, an Nsukka-based public affairs analyst said that the fuel crisis, electricity tariff, and high cost of food items are like a pandemic ravaging ordinary Nigerians. He lamented that the situation has degenerated to the point that some families are not sure of what to eat the next day.

    Another resident, Christopher Nnadi, a civil servant said that everything unimaginable is happening in Nigeria, adding that poor families are at the receiving end.

    For Mrs. Oluchukwu Ezea, a trader at Ogige Main Market, Nsukka, coping with the fuel crisis, high electricity tariff, and high cost of food prices has degenerated into an alarming point. She lamented that she is finding it difficult to sustain her business as well as keep every member of her family afloat under the harsh economy of the country.


    In Edo State, it was also songs of lamentation. Edosa Okunbo, a journalist, said: “I adjusted; we eat according to what we can afford. For the electricity tariff, I ensure that before I leave the house, all my electrical appliances are turned off.

    Similarly, Joseph Ezeobi, a businessman, said “It has not been easy, starting with the fuel situation that just crippled the nation’s economy. We are coming out from the fuel subsidy and they just increased it again. Most times, I just leave my car to enter public transport which I think is cheaper.


    Times are really hard in Kogi State, and residents are groaning over the high prices of food items, hike in electricity tariffs and the current fuel scarcity in the state.

    In the last few days, the fuel crisis has been worsening every day, as a litre of petrol now sells for between N1000 and N1200 in some major towns in the state while the price is more in the rural areas.

    Mrs. Mary Eleojo, a teacher in a private school said: “The hardship on the citizens is getting too much and people are dying silently, a bag of local rice is sold for N93,000 while the parboiled rice is sold at N75,000. For Alhaji Abdullahi Onimisi, a pensioner, “Our number one problem in Lokoja is water; there’s no water to drink. The greater water works that supplies all residents in Lokoja which Gov Wada built was abandoned and we are suffering, a sachet of ‘pure water’ is now sold for N50.

    “Also, the arbitrary increase in the price of food items is killing us, we can’t feed well and most families in the state eat once a day.

    “The president should be bold enough to make a scapegoat of anyone trying to sabotage the economy.”


    In Kebbi State, Mallam Haruna Sa’adu, a commercial driver explained that the hardship in the state should not be blamed on commercial vehicle operators but on those behind the hike in the price of petrol.

    A parent, who has four children in schools and a daughter in a tertiary institution in the state, Alhaji Isah Shehu lamented that he has started spending beyond his capacity to transport his children to schools.

    “I keep wondering if we truly have a government that cares about the welfare of the citizens. We are still struggling to cope with the high cost of food items in the country due to subsidy removal.


    Former Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph Hayab, has described the current economic situation in the country as painful and pathetic.

    He said: “A combination of fuel crisis, hike in prices of foodstuffs and electricity is a multiple blow to Nigerians coupled with the harsh weather. Our leaders must understand that there is hardship everywhere and take workable actions to alleviate that hardship while citizens should desist from greed, selfishness and unpatriotic behavior.”

    Husseina Mohammed, a Kaduna resident said, “the situation is deteriorating daily with four litres of fuel now selling for N6,000 as of Tuesday, April 30.

    For Ms. Jessica Bartholomew, a member of a civil society group in Kaduna, the fuel, food and electricity crises appear to be a deliberate attempt to aggravate the suffering of poor and vulnerable Nigerians.

    “As a mother, I feel like the economic crisis is out to throw me and my family out in the streets because the cost of foodstuffs has become unbearable for me let alone support others as I used to do before now.”


    The fuel situation is disheartening in Kano. Most big filling stations such as A.A Rano, Aliko, NNPC and Total stations  in the state have had no product to dispense for days.

    Stations like Shafa, Matix, Mobile and Amasco filling stations that have very limited trucks to dispense, are witnessing very long queues of vehicles.

    Anthony Abudu, a resident, told Saturday Sun that he joined a queue at Mobil Filling Station along Airport Road by 6.00 am, Tuesday, but could not get the product as of 4.30 pm due to the irregular system of selling the product to known faces.

    While the price of a litre of fuel ranges from N690 to N1000 per litre inside filling stations, the same quantity at the black market sold for between N1, 300 and N1,500.

    Bello Audu, a public servant in the state, told Saturday Sun that he spends about N5000 to N6000 on fuel daily, lamenting that he could no longer afford to ride his car.

    The fuel scarcity has equally affected the use of generators at night. In the past, residents used their generators as an alternative to the insufficient power supply. But with the temperature standing at 44 to 45 degrees Celsius, many homes can no longer afford to use generators at night at the new rate.

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