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Fuel price increase choking us, Nigerians cry out

More reactions last night trailed the new increment in the price of fuel by the Federal Government, which took effect from September 2. While most Nigerians spoken to by Saturday Telegraph expressed misgivings over the new increase, others argued that the increase had further exposed the government’s “hidden agenda” to further impoverish them and inflict hardship on citizens, who already were disillusioned and depressed. Since the announcement on Wednesday, the new price had stirred reactions from Nigerians and prominent individuals both on the conventional media platforms and the social media. Recall that the increment was approved by the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Wednesday. However, Saturday Telegraph spoke to a cross section of Nigerians, especially civil servants, private sector operators, traders, artisans, among others. Excerpt:


The recent increase in the pump price of fuel has affected the price of some commodities in Umuahia, the Abia State capital. A dealer in Noodles at the Aba Road Tower in Umuahia has increased the price of a carton of the Indomie Noodle brand from N3,350 to N3,600. However, the transport fare for intra and inter-city travels are the same. Even before the fuel price and electricity tariff increase the price of bread has been slightly adjusted. Some of the traders and artisans who spoke to Saturday Telegraph said the price of their goods and services were still the same and will remain so until they go to market.


On its part, the Kwara State chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) said it would not accept the increase in fuel price as well as the astronomical hike of electricity tariff as announced by the Federal Government. The state’s NLC Chairman, Aliyu Issa Ore, told our correspondent in a telephone conversation on Thursday, that: “About a week ago, we were at the headquarters of the NLC in Abuja, where the union kicked against the increase in electricity tariff. “While we were on that, it’s a very bad case, nauseating and disturbing for us to hear that the fuel pump price has also been hiked. The enistration’s tire workforce in Nigeria will not accept that. “Take, for instance, the issue of N30,000 minimum wage, almost all the 36 states in the federation are yet to implement it apart from the Federal Government. “Even the few ones who signed it have reverted to the old N18,000 minimum wage using COVID-19 as cover and excuse and there are some states like Kwara State that are yet to sign the minimum wage into law.” Commenting, Mr. Kayode Awotunde, a pensioner in Kwara State, said: “What workers and pensioners in particular are expecting at this period is neither an increase in the pump price of petrol nor increase in electricity tariff. Also, Prince Ibrahim Adebara, said: “It’s unfortunate that the Federal Government did not make provision for the common citizenry. Nigeria and the entire globe are yet to wake up from the coronavirus pandemic issue.”


The Chairman of the Ogun State chapter of the NLC, Mr. Emmanuel Bankole, described the increase in pump price of fuel and electricity tariff as, “unfortunate and disheartening”. Bankole lamented that the hike in the fuel pump price and electricity tariff would further compound the woes of the masses, saying the hike is an indication and confirmation that “our supposed leaders are just our enemies who have no interest of the masses at heart. He insisted that it was insensitive and callous of the Federal Government to increase the prices of fuel and electricity without considering the plights of the people. The labour leader urged the people to rise up against the increment, saying: “It is becoming obvious now that they (masses) have to join the labour movement so that we can liberate ourselves from these oppressors (leaders). Enugu Residents of Enugu State have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to do the needful by reverting the pump price of fuel and electricity tariff to the old prices. The residents, who spoke to our correspondent in Enugu, said allowing such exorbitant increments was one way of inviting disharmony and possible disintegration of the country. A commercial bus driver, George Nwodo, who plies inter-city service from Obiagu to Abakpa, said the fuel increment has forced the hike in cost of transportation from N80 to N150. On his part, Comrade Kindness Jona, Programme Coordinator, Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) South- East, described the hike in the prices of fuel and electricity as insensitive and callous. He said President Buhari inherited the fuel price of N87 from former President Goodluck Jonathan and has now increased it to N162, while the electricity tariff has jumped from N22 per unit cost to N66, a 200 percent increase.


A few days after increment in pump price of fuel and electricity tariff, citizens of Osun State are now in great lamentations towards the unbearable hardship that the hike has caused. As some were accusing the Federal Government of being inconsiderate and inhuman, others blasted it for its insensitivity saying, despite the strangulated, shattered and battered economy, it still went ahead to inflict agony on the souls and bodies of its citizens. One of them, who identified himself as Mr. Adebisi Abifarin, pointed out that it is de-rating downgrading and shameful for the government to have increased the price of the essential commodities which it knows are necessary to all and sundry.


Simon Okere, a Keke driver, said: “What are we going to do? For now we are still collecting the same amount but any moment from now transport fare will increase. A public servant, Joy Madu, also said “This was not what we bargained for. There is no light so you have to fuel your generator. I have to fuel my car. “There is no money anywhere. What do they expect us to do in this country?” For Lovely Sampson, a liquid soap producer, “Since the hike has not increased the prices of my soap products, I don’t care. “When the chemicals increase, I will now know that it has affected my business. For now it has not affected my business. Let’s be watching. “


The simultaneous increment of petrol pump price and electricity tariff has elicited considerable public disquiet in Yola and environs as citizens accused the Federal Government of inhuman treatment. Categories of residents of Yola, the Adamawa State capital, interviewed decried the new increases, saying the Federal Government is insensitive to the plight of the masses who were yet to recover from the economic depression brought on them by the twins scourges of COVID -19 pandemic and Boko Haram insurgency.


Flowing the increase in pump price and electricity tariff in Nigeria, small business operators in Bauchi State, have disclosed that Mr. President is punishing Nigerians and pushing them to the wall rather than proffering solutions to suffering to the struggling economy. A middle aged woman, who is a food vendor, Mrs. Zainab Ayuba, told Saturday Telegraph that her business was going down as a result of the increase in pump price and electricity tariff. She lamented that all prices of food stuff have gone up and she doesn’t have the capacity to fuel her generator sets to preserve some of her perishable food items.


Residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) like other citizens are already gnashing their teeth over the recent hike on petrol pump price and electricity tariff, following government’s unstable policies. The current administration’s spin doctors claimed that increasing petrol pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) price to N151, and hiking electricity tariff from N30.23 per kwh to over N66, is in the interest of Nigerians, but FCT residents have discountenanced that, accusing the government of using tricks to kill the citizenry. While the masses are beginning to bear the brunt from attendant multiple effects coming from all aspects of their socioeconomic lives, the government is still struggling to defend the policies being described by some analysts as retrogressive to economic stability.

Akwa Ibom

The recent increment in the price of fuel and electricity tariff have received deep condemnations from the people and residents of Akwa Ibom State who described the sudden increment in vital products and services from the Federal Government as highly insensitive and punitive. Our correspondent who interviewed a cross section of the people observed anger and frustrations as citizens took turns to lament the increasing hardship the current administration has foisted on Nigerians since 2015. According to Emmanuel Okon, a school teacher in one of the secondary schools in Uyo, “I am surprised that some Nigerian politicians support the Buhari’s admin-enistration’s policies blindly. With N480 to $1, there is no basis of comparison between Nigeria and developed economies to warrant comparison in the cost of petrol in the country.


Residents of Edo State drawn from various shades of life, trade and professions yesterday bared their minds over the recent increase in electricity tariff and hike per litre of petrol by the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency (PPRA) with a verdict that the citizens are doomed in their own nation. They expressed anger and disappointment that at this critical moment of Nigeria’s wobbling sociopolitical and economic situation, her citizens instead of recovery from the pains brought about by the still ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, they were again subjected to worse and excruciating agony of worst civil regime under the guise of democracy. Speaker after speaker in interview with Saturday Telegraph frowned that the psychological torture the increases would bring to poor homes, workers, artisan, businesses and governance would better to imagined than experienced.


Youths from the North under the auspices of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) on Friday threaten President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately reverse the increment in the prices of petrol and electricity or be ready for a sustained mass action. The group, which gave Igbos quit notice to vacate the North in 2017, stated that “the recent announcement of the Federal Government’s decision to hike the prices of such essentials as petroleum products and electricity have ignited widespread discontent and anger across every segment of the Nigerian society.”


Also, residents of Lagos State have been lamenting the increment in pump price of PMS, following the new ex-depot price announced by PPMC. Speaking with Saturday Telegraph, a commercial driver, Mr. Ogunsakin Clement, said it was sad that the Federal Government has proven that it was insensitive to the plight of the people. Also speaking, Mr Kayode James, an artisan expressed worry over sudden hike and in the electricity tariff, saying the development has become their hope in the nation’ economic development plan.


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