Nigerians continue to groan as fuel scarcity is yet to improve. ENCOMIUM Weekly continued findings on how much fuel is being sold per litre and the amount commercial buses charge their passengers revealed that the situation has not improved.
ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered from Mr. Wasiu, a bike operator, on Thursday, November 26, 2015, that fuel is still sold at a higher price. As the price of fuel is yet to go back to normal, commercial drivers increased fare as they could no longer afford to pick passengers at the normal fare. Mr. Wasiu told us he bought fuel for N100 per litre and in some other filling stations, he bought fuel for N130 per litre. He added that due to the price he buys fuel he adds N50 to the transport fare. “I buy fuel for N100 per litre and you still expect me to carry passengers the same price? It cannot work that way. Yesterday, I bought 10 litres for N1,500 that is why I increased my transport fare by N50. I normally carry N100 before but now, I carry for N150.”
We further noticed that the queue in filling stations has not reduced. People still queue to buy fuel and it is usually lengthy. We gathered that at Star Filling Station, Abule-Egba, off Fagba, Lagos, sells fuel for N130 per litre. On Thursday, November 26, 2015, at about 5:30pm, a car owner told us he bought fuel for N130 per litre at Star Filling Station. “I just bought fuel now and they sold it N130 per litre. It is too expensive. I almost changed my mind not to buy again, but when I thought of going to other filling station and end up spending more hours on the queue, I just decided to buy here. There are few people on the queue.”
ENCOMIUM Weekly on Friday, November 27, 2015, gathered that motorists have increased the transport fare and the few ones who did not increase complained bitterly about their plight.
Mr. Kolawole, a bus driver told us that he picks passengers from Fagba to Ogba for N50 and that is still the fare he carries though it is not easy. “Fagba to Ogba is N50 and vice versa. It’s still the same price I carry, though I am just managing. At times I buy fuel N87 per litre while some other times I buy N100 per litre. It is only God that can help us in Nigeria.”
While some commercial drivers charge N50, few charge N70 from Fagba to Ogba and vice versa. Likewise in filling stations, they sell fuel but the crowd has not reduced.
We further found out that the long queues resurfaced in most parts of the state as a result of the scarcity. And not just in Lagos, other parts of the country are also going through similar experience. Not all filling stations are dispensing petrol. There are usually long queues of jerry cans, cars and buses which spill into the roads causing gridlock.
Some of the dispensing filling stations hiked their pump price to as high as N150 per litre, as against the official N87 and charge an extra N100 for jerry cans depending on the size.
ENCOMIUM Weekly on Friday, November 27, 2015, visited Oando Filling Station on Ogunnusi Road, Ogba, Lagos. We spoke with their supervisor, Mr. Oluwatosin. According to him, the major cause of the scarcity is the subsidy owed marketers by the Federal Government. it has hampered them from importing more petroleum.
He also spoke about the refineries not producing enough due to the high consumption of fuel, that has made those who have fuel sell above N87 the normal pump price because of the extra charges they pay at the depot to get fuel. The cost of transportation is very high as they have to pay more on the fuel tankers that carry the fuel from the depot.
Mr. Arakanbi, an okada operator, told ENCOMIUM Weekly, his route is Ishaga to Ogba. He formally charges N150 per person but had to increase the fare to N200 so he could cover up for the lost hours in search of fuel.
Mr. Victor told us he was able to buy at MRS, Oga, Lagos, at N100 per litre but still charging normal price which is N150 per person but by 8pm he charges N200. His route is Ogba to Ishaga.
We also visited Ogba garage and spoke to some bus drivers, most of whom still buy at N87 but have to pay extra charges depending on the quantity they are buying.
A bus driver who pleaded anonymity said because he could not stand the queue at the filling stations, he had to buy from black market and paid an extra N200 for a keg. He plies Ogba to Oshodi.
Mr. Nureni Akintomi plies Ogba to Ketu and has not changed his price. He carries at N150 per person and still maintains the three passenger per seat law made by the union. He also told us he cannot increase the price as passengers would look for an alternative and easy route where they would pay less and still get to their destination. “I have been buying fuel at N87 per litre but to get the fuel still remains a problem as extra charges are paid according to the quantity you are buying.”
Mr. Bidemi, whose route is Ogba /Mile 2 said, “I still charge the normal N250 per person. I was able to buy at old Texaco at Maternity Bus-Stop, Ogba, Lagos. Before we increase the price, we have to consider our economy and no one will want to board the bus, so we have to bear the loss till it gets better.”
Mr. Ibu George, a tricycle operator, who plies Ogba/Alausa revealed that he has not bought higher than N100 per litre, though the scarcity is really affecting him, but there’s nothing he could do.
- GLORY OSIGWE and FOLANI DAMILOLA