Operators of private filling stations in Akure, the Ondo State capital, have closed their stations to motorists following the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who visited the filling stations in Akure on Monday, reports that NNPC filling stations, the only stations open for business, were selling petrol at N138 per litre. Motorists were buying at the new price but expressed dismay at the removal which they described as unfair.
Public transport operators have also increased fares as taxi operators now charge between N40 and N80 per drop depending on the distance as against the N30 they used to charge.
Motorcycle operators have also doubled their fare, NAN further reports.
A taxi driver, Muraina Azeez, said he had to increase the fares in order to remain in business.
The manager of one of the NNPC filling stations, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was directed ‘from above’ to effect the change in price.
A motorist at the station, Emmanuel Ayodele, said he was not happy with the removal, describing the government action as suicidal as the masses were struggling to survive.
“The insincerity of governments, from the military to the present civilian administration, has not encouraged Nigerians to trust the leadership on its policies and words. Since the removal has been done, my advice to the government is to use the proceeds of the removal to better the lot of the masses and ensure that they do not suffer,” he said.
Another resident, Kadri Murtal, said: “This is hardship, where is the money to buy at this high rate? My belief is that God will hold leaders accountable for their actions”.
At Nsukka in Enugu State, many passengers who wanted to return to their stations after the Christmas and New Year celebrations were also stranded at motor parks on Monday asa result of the increase in fares.
Raymond Izunna, a passenger, told NAN that he was forced to cancel the journey he wanted to undertake with members of his family due to the hike in fare.
“Before today, transport fare from Nsukka to Onitsha is N700 but I am surprised that the price is now N1,500. Four of my family members wanted to travel back after Christmas and New Year celebrations and my budget for transport fare for the four of us is N2800. I have no other option than to remain in the village until I am able to get our complete transport money,” he said.
Mr. Izunna said the government’s action is unfair, eadding that removing the subsidy at the time when many people are traveling is wrong.
A driver, who pleaded anonymity, blamed the hike in fare on the Federal Government and not the drivers.
“The worst thing is that many filling stations do not have the product. The government should have known that anything that affects fuel has multiplier effect on the economy.”
NAN reports that a journey from Nsukka to Enugu now costs N400 as against N250 while Nsukka to Owerri is now N1,700 as against N900.
Nsukka to Abuja is now N3,500 as against N1,900.
Fares within Nsukka have also increased as a ride from Old park to Opi which used to be N90 now attracts N200 and from Old park to UNN is N100 as against the former price of N50 while a ride by motorcycle from Old park to Ofulonu is now N90 as against N50.
NAN also observed that major roads in Nsukka witnessed low vehicular traffic as some people have parked their cars either because of the scarcity of the product or the high cost.