Adedotun Aderoboye &
Frustrations, anger and fears have gripped many Nigerians over the sudden and persistent increases in the price of petrol in the country as queues returned to fuel stations, yesterday.
The development which caught many unaware, saw many petrol stations which were already opened for business and attending to customers hurriedly changed their meters’ readings to reflect the new price, while others shut down their outlets.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL had yesterday announced the price increase from N540 to N617 per litre, which it said is to reflect the dynamics of market forces and debunked notions that the price increase is due to a shortfall in petrol supply.
In their reactions to the increment, many Nigerians who spoke with The Hope expressed anger over the development, saying it will lead to more hardship for the common man.
Some described the increase as wicked and callous on the part of NNPCL and independent marketers.
They described the situation as very provocative and agonising, adding that the rising cost of fuel will eventually lead to sharp increases in the prices of services and products in the country.
In a swift reaction to the new pump price of N617 per litre, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Adekola Olawoye, said if it is true that government has increased the pump price again, Nigerians are in for a big hardship.
“We are in for a big hard time. The multiplier effects will be too much for ordinary Nigerians to cope with.
“What will not increase? I don’t know it. It will erode the purchasing power of the people, it will affect everybody. The NLC is proposing N200,000 as new minimum wage for workers, subject to whatever the federal government may decide or agree upon.
“We are still on that, but now another tragedy has struck, that is the new pump price we are hearing now. I don’t know where we are going to start from. Maybe this is the beginning of the end as far as a citizen who wants to live and obtain a three-square meal in this country, who will want to send his/her children to school, who is sick and wants medical care, either in government facilities -federal or states.
“Or somebody who needs a moderate 2-bedroom housing facility/ bungalow on his head, where will he start from. If he wants to borrow money, at what rate is the interest.
“So, the new pump price is going to cripple Nigerians permanently. The purchasing power will be seriously affected and the economy will be crippled.
“The multiplier effect will fundamentally affect everybody,”Olawoye stressed.
In Ondo town, various stations that have adjusted their pump price from N570 – N650.
At a filling station in Oka area of the town, petrol was sold at N575 per litre. There were queues at filling stations as motorists wait to buy the product.
At another station visited in the same area, petrol was sold at N650 per litre. There was no queue as customers bought without delay.
Report from Ondo south said many petrol stations following the increase in the pump price.
Some motorists and commercial motorcyclists who spoke with our correspondent lamented the development, saying this may provoke unpleasant reactions in the land if not urgently addressed.
Mr. Sunday Oluwanbe said it would come to a stage where people will no longer bear this suffering.
“Therefore, before it gets to that stage, government needs to address this petrol saga, which is the most powerful tool used by the masses to sustain a living. We can’t continue like this, he lamented.”
To feed is now very hard. As commercial motorcyclists, we are only working for the petrol stations, because in the end you still take the money back to them for fuel. Hardly you can have a take-home of N1000 from the business anymore.”
Financial expert, Mallam Aminullah Kareem, described the sudden and unexplained price increase as playing upon the intelligence of Nigerians.
Aminullah said waking up and announcing price hike in petrol when NNPC feels it is convenient for her, is very suicidal.
According to him, this is not considering the plight of ordinary Nigerians who are already suffocating under hardships caused by the mismanagement of the economy and corruption by the nation’s leaders.
He posited that what the NNPCL is doing is working to achieve the N700 per litre which the Independent marketers demanded.
He stated that President Tinubu is gradually playing to the gallery by giving in to the cabals who have been running the nation’s economy.
On his part, a Resources Management Consultant and Financial adviser based in Akure, Elder Fessy Olabode, however, believes that the new pump price is still responding to market but will soon come down as soon as more products arrive.
“Although, NNPC is not expected to be fixing price in a complete deregulated market it’s the function of the forces of demand and supply,” he said
Meanwhile, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Nigeria Union of Journalists ,NUJ have rejected the new regime of pump price of fuel announced, describing it as provocative and designed to worsen the poverty level and hardship Nigerians are passing through.
NLC, in a statement by its President, Joe Ajaero, said; “We woke up this morning (Tuesday) to the news that NNPCL has increased the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from the hitherto draconian N500/liter to N617/litre.
“This is despite the suffering and hardship that Nigerians have had to go through as a result of the original hike on May 29, as part of President Tinubu’s inaugural gift to Nigerians.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in a release signed by its National Secretary, Shuaibu Usman Leman raised alarm and expressed concern over the increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol.
The union, in a media release issued on Tuesday, highlighted the impact of the development on transportation costs and the soaring prices of food items, which have become increasingly unaffordable for many citizens. .