By Trust Akharaiyi,
Samson Sule &
Scores of students across the country have taken to trekking to school against their will as a result of the spiral cost of transportation.
The new fad of trekking among students in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions may imperil academic activities as the students are coming late to schools and falling sick at alarming rate, The Hope observes.
Investigation by our reporters revealed that many parents who hitherto ferried their wards to schools in their private cars have stopped the luxury because the high cost of petrol has forced them to resort to public transportation which itself has become a nightmare as a litre of petrol has shot up from N195 to N500 per litre.
At the time of this report, it cost a student about N600 to and fro school, excluding cost of feeding. So parents who have two or more students require a fortune to keep them in school.
Reports showed an upswing in the number of students falling sick due to fatigue of trekking many kilometers to school especially by the young ones who were not used to hustling.
The number of reported cases of students falling sick due to fatigue caused by trekking since the petrol crisis happened is said to be worrisome and alarming.
Many parents who spoke to The Hope expressed anxiety over the incessant breakdown of their wards who come back home wearied and emotionally exhausted with complaints of being tired and unwilling to go to school again.
A parent, Mrs Sola Ukandu said the daily cost of transportation for students by parents was already being felt by every home, claiming that, it cost about N600 per child to and from school on daily basis.
A student of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko, Aje Precious, said going to school had become more difficult for students, and some had to miss or get late to classes because they could not afford transport fare.
Precious told The Hope that “the increase of fuel price has made it difficult for him and his colleagues to go to school because the transportation fare from the hostel to class has doubled, and school itself is money draining.
In similar vein, a student of the University of Ibadan, Mr Adewale Emmanuel, disclosed that students had to pay more for printing course materials and other school needs, making studying more difficult.
At Rufus Giwa, Polytechnic, Owo, Damilola Racheal said she could not go back home to Ikare to get foodstuff from her parents because transport fare had doubled
She said she now misses classes whenever she cannot afford transport fare to the campus, adding that, “On the first week of resumption, I did take bike from my street to the class but now, I have to trek from my hostel to the class, which takes me about 30 minutes to get to the class sometimes I will be late to the class”.
In the same vein, Sailu Ayomide, in the same school, said she had stopped going home every weekend due to increased transport fares.
A secondary school student, Fatai Ayomide, told The Hope that she fell sick from trekking a long distance to school and back home.
“My school is very far from our house. As the fuel price increased, from our house to my school, is N250 instead of N100 before, and my parents can’t afford to spend that kind of money every day. I will have to trek from my house down to the school.
“I fell sick in a week when I trek to my school. For like three days, I was unable to go
to school, and sometimes, when my parents couldn’t afford to give me money for transport, I would have to sit back at home.
Also, Master Moses Victor told The Hope that he and his siblings had to risk mounting motorcycles to school as his dad could not afford to drive them daily in his vehicle.
“He said he can’t afford to spend N4 000 every day. He said he would rather take a bike than buy fuel N500 per litre,” Victor said.
Some of the parents who spoke to The Hope lamented that life had been difficult for them and that taking their kids to school had become herculean.
Mrs Elizabeth Ojo told The Hope that, “Before I used to give my children transport fare and also give them pocket money to get something in school. As it is now, I can’t give them N200 each to take bike and still give them money to buy something when they get to school.
“They will have to trek to their school every morning because I don’t have any option. How will I spend N1,500 every day? I don’t make a profit up to that amount in a day, and they will also have to eat when they return from school.”
“My second child is currently at home as we speak. She started trekking to school since this subsidy issue started. She fell sick after trekking, and I don’t have the money to spend on transportation daily. I hope this issue is quickly resolved, Mr James Akinola complained to The Hope.