By Temidayo Tiamiyu, Leonard Adedigba, Amanze Priscilla, Okafor Esther and Mariam Odebiyi
It is not only the increased transportation cost that troubles Desmond Okoria, but also inability to fill his stomach with enough food. The commercial bus driver told newsbreak.ng that his food consumption had reduced because the prices of foodstuff galloped. “Restaurants don’t take N50 for a ration of cooked rice any longer, you must have at least N200,” said the commercial bus driver at Allen Avenue, Ikeja, in Lagos.
James Olokor, civil servant and resident of Agbado, in Ogun state, could not agree more with Okoria. Olokor said that aside the transport and food hikes, he spent hours in traffic commuting to and from his place of work. “Federal Government should look into the situation as fast as they can”, Olokor pleaded.
Kunle Akinola, another civil servant, said it had been difficult to feed his family. “I feel very bad because the distance I used to pay N50 is now N150. I can’t even feed my family to a three square meal in a day,” Akinola stated.
The situation was not different with Emeka Okoro, a dispatch tricycle rider, who claimed he spent 10 hours at a filling station. He said he would have lost a tooth had he succumbed to his anger while queuing for fuel at the station. “I was angry that the petrol attendant announced that the product had finished just when it was my turn to buy. If not for God’s grace, it would have resulted in a fight,” Amanze said with his forehead showing thick ridges of furrows. Petrol, hardly available at the fuel stations, offers brisk business to black market dealers and sold at higher price.
Audu Musa, another commercial bus driver, said he resorted to buying from the black market out of desperation. He said commercial bus drivers increase the route fares charged because they buy petrol at costly black market prices. “I bought 25 litres of fuel at N6,000 and so have to recoup my money. Commercial transport has been increased by 50 per cent at most across various routes,” he explained.
Fair-hued Juliet Olaniyan, a married woman at Mowe, Ogun state, deplored the situation whereby vehicles queuing at filling stations obstruct other road users. Olaniyan advised relevant government agency to ensure free traffic flow. Unlike the others, Mrs. Abimbola Adegbite responded to this medium’s inquiry on the fuel situation with derision against the government. “They told us the government would bring “change, so this is the change we are seeing”, she said. “Why are officials of the Nigerian Labour Congress heckling (President Goodluck) Jonathan keeping quiet”, she queried.