Fuel queues persist, commuters stranded as retailers hike price after Tinubu’s subsidy comment

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President Bola Tinubu’s statement on fuel subsidy has resulted in panic buying among Nigerians and some filling stations have resorted to profit from the chaos.

On Monday, Tinubu stated that fuel subsidy is gone, a public declaration that was met with panic among Nigerians but embraced by profiteers.

Following his statement, some retailers shut their stations, while others jerked up their price significantly above the regulated price of N196 per litre.

It also created panic in the transport sector, as many transporters also jerked up prices of transport fares, with many commuters left stranded at bus stops in major cities across the country.

In Alagbole-Akute area, located in Ifo Local Government, Ogun State, where at least three NNPC retail stations are operating, two closed shops while only one remained open for a few hours and closed early, against its usual business hours.

This led to long queues in the NNPC retail station going towards Akute, with residents of the area out as early as 6:30 am on Wednesday – the time Ripples Nigeria correspondent went to monitor operations of filling stations.

Although the NNPC station maintained price at N189 per litre, the private retailers, like Mobil filling station and Diamond Pearl retail unit, that are open for business increased the price to N320.

Diamond Pearl also charged customers N200 and above for keg size. When Ripples Nigeria enquired from an attendant about the extra fee on keg, she said they are paid N12,000 monthly, so this is their opportunity to make extra income.

She said when fuel price was low prior to Tinubu’s statement, customers were not tipping, but now that people are buying in panic, whoever doesn’t pay for keg will not be sold to.

Also in Ejigbo area, of Lagos State, NNPC filling station along Egbe road sold at N488/litre while Petrocam along the same route sold at N350 per litre.

READ ALSO:Nigerian govt owes NNPCL N2.8tr in fuel subsidy payments – Kyari

IPMAN against hike in fuel price, shut down 100 retailers

On Wednesday, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) National Public Relations Officer, Yakubu Suleiman, said fuel price remains N196 per litre.

Suleiman said they are only selling between N195 to N196 per litre, but petrol stations discovered to be selling above the regulated price have been sanctioned.

He stated that IPMAN is against profiteering, hence, about 100 filling stations have been shut down for selling at outrageous amounts and exploiting Nigerians.

“We have a task force that goes around all the filling stations in the country. I want to assure that there are there working and any filling station caught increasing the price just because of this announcement, there has to be a penalty for that. I want to assure Nigerians not to panic,” he told Channels Television.

Tinubu blunder caused fuel hike?

While fuel subsidy is still in place, Tinubu declared publicly during his inauguration speech that it is gone, insinuating Nigeria is no longer subsiding fuel.

“On fuel subsidy; unfortunately, the budget that has eclipsed (sic) before I assumed office, and what I have heard is that no provision is there for fuel subsidy. So, fuel subsidy is gone,” Tinubu said.

However, the previous administration had budgeted for fuel subsidy till June 2023, which means the Federal Government will continue to subsidise petrol for the next 31 days.

He is set to meet with the Nigeria Labour Congress today to discuss the implications of removing the subsidy and the way forward.

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