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 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 been abated as commuters and transporters are groaning under the hardship.
ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with some commuters and transporters on the issue…
‘It hit me really bad’ – EKENE NATHANIEL
The fuel scarcity has hit me really bad. If not that my boss is an understanding person, I would have been receiving queries at least twice in a week. Despite that I try to get up early and prepare my children for school, but it’s not easy, my brother. I still arrive about one hour late to the office because of the heavy traffic caused by long queues.
The government should do something about this immediately. I don’t know why we are always suffering because of fuel issues.
‘I now use public transport’ -DESTINY ISINWA
It is such a pity. At this stage in our country we still struggle with the most basic things. Imagine the hustle people go through just to buy petrol for their businesses. It is a sorry situation. I don’t really blame the oil marketers, it’s because we don’t have functional refineries. I have parked my car in the house, I now use public transport I don’t have the time or patience for all the queues.
‘It’s getting out of hand’ -ABIOLA TEMITOPE
The issue of fuel scarcity is really getting out of hand. Transport fare has gone up, things are getting more expensive. I don’t know why things seem to be getting out of hand as Jonathan is ready to leave.
We have no choice than to continue to cope and pray for a lasting solution from the government.
‘I pray they find a solution’ -FUNKE OLABISI
I bought a litre of petrol for N130. I don’t go out with my car again. I am tired of the long queue. I pray they resolve it fast. Imagine what we are facing when there is subsidy. What will happen if they remove it?
It all depends on government. I pray they find a solution fast before it gets out of hand.
‘I am coping very well’ -CORNELIUS ELLAH
I am coping very well with the fuel scarcity. But it is not easy. I am only thankful to God for his guidance and protection for my family. It is not easy moving from one place to another because of the fuel scarcity. The government should please do something about it.
‘It has not been easy’ -CHRISTIAN ALOYSIUS
The fuel scarcity is everywhere and everybody is adjusting to it. But it has not been easy. Transport fare is hiked to almost 150 percent and sometimes you have to wait for a long time at the bus stop before getting a vehicle to move. Sadly, there is no steady electricity, so many sleep without fan or AC.
‘I trek to work daily’ -OLU FALAKE
The fuel scarcity is very frustrating, to say the truth. It has subjected ordinary Nigerians to unbearable hardship.
For instance, I now trek to work because of the high cost of transportation. Government should quickly resolve the issue with petroleum product marketers in the interest of Nigerians, especially the masses.
‘It’s time to revolt’ -BRIGHT CHIMENKA
I don’t know why Nigerians don’t want to protest this sabotage. We can’t continue like this. This oil is from our land and we can’t enjoy it. It’s so sad.
President Jonathan is probably punishing Nigerians for rejecting him at the polls. If we are wrong, let him solve the problem before leaving office.
‘I spend all my salary on transport’ -GRACE EKARIKA
The suffering is too much. We can’t continue like this. I don’t even have money as I talk to you. I spend all my salary on transport. Why can’t they arrest all the marketers? It is not even as if they embarked on a strike, they are just punishing the masses.
‘It has affected my work’ -EZEKIEL OKOGIE
The fuel scarcity has really affected my work as a commercial driver. But thank God, the owner of the vehicle also understands the situation of things at the moment. If not, it would have been very difficult having anything left for me and my family after a day’s work. I fuel my bus at almost double the normal rate per day. Anytime you add even N10 to the regular fare, commuters will start abusing you, reigning curses on you as if you’re the cause of the problem.
I ply Agege-Abule Egbe route and instead of the usual N50 per head, I charge N70 because of the fuel scarcity, which to some commuters, it’s inconvenient. So, I have to adjust at times. We really need prayer so that the situation can be addressed before it gets totally out of control.
‘It has been difficult’ -MUKAILA ADIGUN
I ride Keke Maruwa but it has been difficult working since the fuel scarcity started. In most cases, I buy a litre of petrol for N150. And before the day ends, I would have to go and queue for another round of fuel. The funny thing at times is that the commuters kick when you charge them anything above the usual fare, forgetting we’re all experiencing an usual situation.
Despite all the challenges we’re facing, the police, task force, LASTMA and all that still extort us, not knowing whether we have eaten or not. Sincerely, we’re in a very difficult situation right now. And something must be done to address the fuel scarcity.