The raging fuel scarcity across the country has put many untold hardship as transport fares have shot through the roof. For the last few weeks, the supply of fuel has been irregular, forcing an increase in pump prices, long queues and a boom for illegal petrol vendors and black marketers.
The strike was embarked upon by the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) coupled with the reported subsidy arrears owed petroleum marketers by the Federal Government running to about N200 billion, which the Federal Government denied.
According to the former Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the queues were not caused by payment issues. She added that the government recently paid N150 billion – N100 billion being the principal owed oil marketers and N56 billion interest and exchange rates differentials.
However, the queues have not abated as commuters and transporters are groaning under the hardship.
ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with some commuters and transporters on the issue…
‘Things are really getting better’ -ATANDA OLUWOLE
Things are really getting better. It got to a point they were selling petrol at N500 per litre. I bought at N250 per litre. I made up my mind not to buy again after that.
Now that we have a new Government, we hope they will look into that immediately. We really need a change in Nigeria.
‘It is affecting every way of life’ -DOMINIC MUDABAI
I am just holding on to hope that the situation will quickly abate because it is affecting every way of life, from business to fitness, to relationships to well being. So, to cope, I had to adopt the best form of management which is improvised thoughts and values.
First, we need nationalists. People that have the interest of the nation at heart should be strategically positioned in places that matter. Of, course every sector matters.
Today it is subsidy reduction or corruption. Tomorrow it is tanker drivers and their strike. The next, it is the government owing billions of dollars. And every time it comes down to the consumers that queue and suffer. The simplest solution is to copy what the countries that don’t have these issues do.
‘The suffering is too much’ -AINA OLOWOLAGBA
The way things are going, I don’t think the problem can be resolved with immediate effect as expected by Nigerians. We only need to give the new administration some time to go into details of issues surrounding the fuel scarcity. As of now, we’re still buying fuel at over N100 per litre. And if you get to some filling stations, they deceive buyers with the price tag of N87 per litre but when they want to sell for you, they whisper to your hears that their fuel is N130 but in other places it may be less or more. So, when you don’t know what you’re going to meet in another place, you won’t have any choice other than to buy the one of N130 per litre. The suffering is too much. We’re only appealing to the marketers to consider the poor masses and harmonize their prices.
‘Pump price is not uniform’ – JOHN OMOH
The fuel scarcity is not over yet. If you move around town, you will discover there are still lots of queue here and there. And the pump price is not uniform.
For instance, I just bought fuel, not even up to 30 minutes in Ogba here, for N150 per litre. Yet the government has announced that the original price of N87 per litre be maintained. You can still notice that people are still going round with kegs ranging from 5 litres to 50 litres. There is no light, no fuel.
And that’s why business is dull all over the place. We want Buhari to start his work from oil sector so that we can believe he is serious.