Less than a week after the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu announced the new price for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as fuel, some filling stations within Lagos State have indirectly complied with the directive while a few have shut down their filling stations completely.
In the ministers statement any Nigerian is free to import the product and sell at a price not above N145 per liter. In order to increase and stabilize the supply of the product, any Nigerian entity is now free to import the product subject to existing quality specifications and other guidance issued by Regulatory Agencies.
The price which was fixed for N145 per liter has been met with so much discordance from Nigerians who believe the new development won’t ease the already heavy economic hardship that has been witnessed since the beginning of the year.
I went to the streets and discovered that some filling stations in Lagos are selling below the normal pump price, without nursing the fear of having their fuel stations sealed by the Special Task Force of the Department of Petroleum Resources, while others are selling with the new price.
Prices ranging from the original N86.50 per liter to N150, N160 and N170 were sold to some motorists between Thursday and Friday with fewer queues than were usually witnessed in the past few months.
Some motorists who did not want their names to be mentioned disclosed that some of the attendants working for these filling stations adjusted their meter in a bid to make more profit.
This was confirmed when I pretended to want to buy 15 liters of fuel with a keg and the attendant cleverly pumped air into my keg before the normal fuel!, something which got me slightly aggravated with him.
More so, some of the popular filling stations (names withheld) have decided to cover the face of their front view price stand while others completely fail to display the new price tag but are still being patronized by motorists.
I moved to further get details on why some of these filling stations were selling beyond the normal price, but this effort proved abortive as both the fuel attendees and the manager kept mute for fear of being apprehended.
In the meantime, it was also gathered that many petrol stations sold no fuel because they had run out of stock, but then, it is expected that by the beginning of this week, most filling stations will have gotten at least some product.
The government in a document obtained from the PPPRA in Abuja, also explained that the decision to undertake the recent increase in the price of petrol was reached after a comprehensive study of the costs of importation and in furtherance of the price modulation framework started in January 2016.
Perhaps, it is yet to be seen if the latest pump price would eradicate the level of fuel scarcity in the country which has almost crippled socioeconomic activities.
Besides, business activities within some of the metropolis centers in Lagos State are gradually adjusting to this development even though, few of them are still struggling to overcome it.
The National Association of Nigerian Students NANS, on Thursday, said over 40 million Nigerian students would re-enact the Occupy Nigeria protest against the removal of the subsidy from petroleum product this week.
According to the NAN President, “a directive has been issued to all tertiary institutions to shut down all campuses on Tuesday and Wednesday. After that, they will all converge on Abuja for a mass protest.”
In a statement by the Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State said, “Nigerians are now left at the mercy of political liars who took over power by deception and are governing by deceit”.
“When they were seeking votes from Nigerians, they promised to reduce petrol pump price from N87 to N45 per liter, they promised to create three million jobs per year, they said $1 will be equal to N1 and above all, they promised to pay unemployed youths N5, 000 stipends and provide one meal a day to pupils nationwide”.
“Instead of fulfilling their promises, they have increased petrol pump price to N145 per liter, increased electricity tariffs, retrenched thousands of workers and imposed untold hardships on Nigerians. As they did in 2012, if labor leaders do not also stand up for the people at this time, posterity will not forgive them.”
I got the opportunity to get reactions from average Nigerians at various pump stations about the new PMS price. Despite their overwhelming outrage, many citizens chose to give their statements anonymously.
“It’s so regretful we found ourselves, for once in Buhari’s government. He has never been the government of the people, he was the same when he came on as a military head of state in 1983…….Nigerians suffered”. – Anonymous patron
“To me, government should check and seek public opinion before implementing such policy on the masses. We are in a country where there is no power supply, no security to lives and properties, high government tax on the masses with just N18, 000 minimum wages…. No plans on increments of wages, yet and yet you raise the fuel pump price….20 liters in your car, and 10 liters for generator at N145 for 30 days is N130,500. NEPA bill, food and miscellaneous excluded… Please can anyone tell me how you want the common civil servant to survive with the wages structures? It’s a pure wickedness from Mr. President who claims he love his country.” – Anonymous patron
“Mr. President should reverse the price and do what is expected of him 1st before taking us back to the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s era. Before the elections, he claimed there was nothing like subsidy, so am surprise to hear him mention it again just within a year of Mr. President’s tenure.” – Anonymous patron
“Nigerians; we say no to the change in fuel pump price.” – Olamilekan Daniels, Lagos State.
“APC promised us that @MBuhari would make $1 = N1; Kerosene would sell at N50 & PMS N65 but today, $1=N325; Kerosene is N130 & PMS is N145.” – John Ofor, Lagos State.
“It is quite obvious that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari doesn’t mean well for us with the recent announcement of subsidy removal from the PMS. If you could observe very well, you would notice that Nigerians are not happy with the current trend of the nation’s economy, something which tells you how the masses are suffering and smiling”. – Ayoola Akintola, Lagos State
“The Federal Government has taken a critical decision which will help stabilize fuel price in the country. “With this announcement, it is expected that fuel will be available at all pumping stations across Nigeria while scarcity should never be part of our dictionary in this country again.” – James Ikechukwu, Lagos State
“Is this how President Muhammadu Buhari wants to repay the trust we put in him when we elected him to lead us last year? I suppose this is their first year anniversary gift to us and by the time they will be rounding off only God knows how much Nigerians will be paying for a liter of fuel. Now there will be increase in transport fare which invariably will translate to all other aspects of our national life. More money will be chasing few goods because the market women also have something to complain about. This is a government that has been foot-dragging on new minimum wage being canvassed by workers but can increase fuel price at will.” – A civil servant in one of the federal ministries who gave his name as Akinfenwa
“PMB [President Muhammadu Buhari] is taking a very bold step, this action will not only pay Nigerians on the long run, it will also stop the oil cables that has been exploiting Nigerians.” – Taiwo Adelaja, Lagos State
“Concerning the increase in fuel price, as much as it is necessary, I think this is ill-timed, because a lot of Nigerians don’t have electricity in their homes, people need fuel to power their generators, so just imagine you need fuel to power your generator, your vehicle, etc, then how much is left of your salary.” – Ifeanyi Obi, Lagos State
“Whenever anything affects fuel price, it affect everything! This government is wicked. And they said they will make fuel 50 naira oh. Somebody that did an analysis on Buhari said every time he was in power, the masses suffered! We are suffering. Now I have to pay double the price of transport fair to get to the office, is it fair? I am bitter, I am grieved.” – Dumebi Okorie, Lagos State