IN view of the recent hike in fuel pump price and electricity tarith by Federal Government from N145 to N161 per-litre in the country, some citizens of Plateau State who spoke with SUNDAY STANDARD in Jos have described the fuel increase as unfriendly and untimely to all and sundry in the country. They are of the opinion that the Federal Government on its part could have waited after the exit of the Corona virus pandemic presently ravaging the world before embarking on any of such a gesture.
By JIDAUNA DARING, LONGWEN TONGKAM, HOSEA NYAMLONG, NAOMI SANTOS and EZEKIEL DONTINNA
Bearing his mind on the fuel increase, Mr. Jerry Tetkum Gama who spoke with SUNDAY STANDARD in Jos expressed displeasure on the unfortunate fuel increase, which he said was imposed on Nigerians.
Gama said that Nigerians were indeed still suffering from the deadly Corona Virus pandemic, which had bedeviled the entire country both humanily and economically, adding that with this increase, lives would definitely become extremely difficult for people, especially those living from hand mouth to .
He said that the two situations at hand would as a matter of fact force people to go out of their way to make ends meet.
He added that the fuel increase had already metamophosed to rise in prices of different food stuff across the country, which needs to be addressed immediately by government at all levels.
According to Gama the increase has directly affected the transport sector across the country, especially with the exuberant charges already made by some motorists, saying that it is the commuters that would suffer most in such situations.
He challenged Nigerians to seriously key into skill acquisition training so as to become more self-reliant rather than depending on white collar jobs which was not forthcoming to them.
He added that many people have lost their jobs within the periot of Covid-19, particularly those in private sector, saying that the fuel increase would further add more hardship to them if they do not have anything to fall back on immediately in life.
Gama appealed to government at all levels to as a matter of concern develop mechanism that would enhance productivity of the masses, so as to enable some people secure their lost jobs.
Mr. Adejoh John of AIICO Insurance Plc, Jos, while reacting on the increase of the fuel said that Federal Government would have allowed Nigerian’s to come out of the hardship currently faced as a result of the Covid–19 pandemic before increasing the fuel pump price in the country.
He said that, the hike in fuel price would affect mostly the poor as it would also worsen their hardship.
He added that, the price has affected both life and economy of the country, which has made transportation difficult for people to transport their goods and services.
He further stated that, “first and foremost, if government is thinking that they are trying to remove subsidy, he said they should actually sit-down and let people understand at what value is subsidy. Is it 100% removal? So that people can purchase it”.
“Government should not expect people to remain on the surface of the water, it will be very difficult to breath after a long time. It is better for them to come up and tell people what exactly the value of price will be if the subsidy is totally removed”.
Abdullahi Yusuf, a driver at NTA park of Jos North LGC, showed his displeasure with the fuel increase and he is calling on Federal Government to please bring the price to its former position because there is no money in circulation.
Mr. Chollom Pwajok, a passenger at NTA Park, said that he was not happy with the fuel pump price which is biting hard, that life must go on despite the hardship faced in the country.
Pwajok pleaded with Federal Government to please cushion the effect by giving us good roads, good education, power supply and food should be cheap in the market. If all these problems are solved it will reduce the hardship.
Mr. Abiodun Taiwo a resident of Jos North and a businessman expressed his view “I believe with the recent increase in the pump price of petrol and hike in electricity and food stuff in Nigeria is a bad omen,” by this step, Federal Government has given oil marketers the full liberty to determine, import and sell petrol to the citizens without price control.
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), has began the full deregulation of the down stream petroleum sector government would no longer fix the pump price of petrol and other products in the country, this has made petrol and other commodities more expensive, while some citizens with the opinion that, the price of petrol would gradually come down like that of the telecommunication sector.
Nigerian economy is determined by the petrol products, which is the determining factor to the economy, however, another deregulation of this oil sector which could help the Nigeria economy grow is by refining our crude oil in our country. Government would have control on the product, than, depending on the refind and imported petrol.
Therefore, the poor would continue to suffer, because the cost of living would go up since the product is determined by the availability of fuel and electricity.
This call for a nation we protest by citizens over the recent increase, without palliative, welfare of the citizens in place, the Federal government should note that, what they did, was not the step in the right direction, haven the effect of Covid-19 pandemic that, has caused colossal damage so far.
Recently, the federal government said that, gasoline price in the country is the cheapest, compared to some West African countries which are on the high side.
Government should not think that, deregulation of the oil sector was for the best interest of the masses; still the subsidy payment or removal would still benefit only a few Nigerians.
Similarly, the Federal government could have cushioned the effect of the lockdown period that, many citizens have suffered as a result of the effect of Covid-19 pandemic, where I think the economy was virtually shutdown nationwide. People were not able to go about their daily businesses to meet up with their needs.
Government should put on recovery economy structure, that would alleviate citizens from the Covid-19 pandemic, while in other clamps, government are putting on measures in form of palliative to address the welfare of its citizens.
On the other hand, increase is the order of the day in the Nigeria system, not minding the hardship citizens faced on daily bases.
I can assure you that, with this recent increase; the price would trippe before the end of 2020. President Muhammadu Buhari agenda in 2015 was to majorly fight corruption, with a mantra to improve on security and economy, but till date, nothing has been done to make the lives of citizens better, rather there hardship.
I would advise the government to keep to their promises and learn to prioritize what they intent to do as a government, not paying only lip service to the citizens.
Commercial drivers as well as commuters in Jos and environs have lamented over the increase in the premium motor spirit known as petrol, saying the hardship they were facing was too enormous.
As a result they urged they government to revert to the former or else called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to ask Nigerians to embark on nationwide strike to cripple the activities of the government.
Our correspondent who went round the city, spoke to drivers and same commuters at various motor parks in Jos expressed dismay with price increase on the premium motor spirit and negative effect have on people.
A Sharon driver, Peter James lamented that their struggle has no benefit to them as 3,000 naira fuel will not take him to Mangu and bring him back unlike before when the premium motor spirit were sold at 143-145 naira per litre but now is sold at 161 naira per liter”.
On his part, Mr. Olusegun Fadari, who is a technician in Jos, said, “the removal of fuel subsidy, has really affected greatly, we the poor, because the price of everything has gone high. Are we talking about food, our children’s schools fees or other things.
“It is painful that government is not thinking about the welfare of the common-man. We are not saying that the removal of the fuel subsidy is not good, but the timing is wrong, because it is coming at this trying time of Covid-19.
“Check the blood pressure of Nigerians now and you will find out that, most people are with high blood pressure. What we are buying around eight hundred has now shut-up to two thousand Naira plus and for me technician, I cannot travel far to buy quality spare-parts to repair people’s electronics and it is affecting me greatly,” he cried out.
Also, Mrs. Angela Akamago, Cross River indigene resident in Jos, described the rise in the price of fuel as unfortunate, because it has affected every part of life within this short period saying, “I am a business woman who travel to buy food items for sale.
“If they will reduce the price of fuel, everything will come down, because those of us who transport food items from different parts of the country know what we are passing through. Before we used to pay one thousand three hundred to Markurdi, but now we pay four thousand naira.
“When we transport Yam from Makurdi to Jos, at that transport fee, definitely one would add or increase the price so that, you meet up with the business or you crash. Therefore, there is need to bring down the price of the fuel for every price to come down”, she suggested.
According to Charles Barry Dava, of Tudun Wada of Jos, said, the decision to remove subsidy at this crucial time defined the in-balance in the present administration’s system, because the essence of governance was to ensure the welfare of citizens is taken seriously.
A trader named Cletus Moses in Jos, said, “The same government promised we the poor that the welfare of citizens was their focus, but the reverse is the case now. The common man cannot afford electricity bill, not to talk of transporting yourselve to look for the food and here comes price increase on fuel”.