Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia & Ben Ezechime, Enugu
Motorists and commuters in South-East Nigeria groan over the biting economic hardship as a litre of petrol now sells for N500 in Abia and Enugu.
Premium motor spirit, PMS, has been very scarce in Umuahia the capital of Abia State in the last one week, and the few petrol stations which have the essential commodity dispensed at N500 per litre, and N450 in some instances.
Transport fare has since doubled as Umuahia to Uturu which before this time cost about N700 now goes for N1500.
Kingsley, a tricycle driver said it made no meaning being on the road as they return with nothing after the day’s hustles.
According to him what drivers are doing now is to sell petrol for marketers because transportation is no longer a rewarding venture due to high cost of petrol.
In Enugu metropolis, the story is the same as residents have continued to lament the continued rise in price of petrol which now sells for N500 per litre.
Investigation by Ikengaonline showed that while few petrol stations are selling the product majority are either out of stock or hoarding.
The situation has led many private vehicle owners to pack their cars while intra-city transport fares have climbed to rooftops.
Ikengaonline reports that price of petrol since last week has gradually continued to increase from N200 to the present price of N500.
Meanwhile, some frustrated tricycle operators in parts of Enugu metropolis on Wednesday tried to organise protests but they did not receive widespread support among their members.
While the protest partially succeeded in some parts of Enugu, it failed to click in other parts.
A tricycle operator, Mr Sunday Nwangboo, said the price situation had “become unbearable and unacceptable.”
“This is unacceptable; we are dying in this country. Where do we go from here?
“There is no money and prices of petrol, food items etc keep going up,” he lamented.
A commuter, Mrs Mary Okeke said she paid N300 for tricycle from Agbani road to Holy Ghost area.
“This is no longer child’s play, imagine that I paid N300 instead of the normal N150. The hardship is becoming too much,” she said.
According to our Correspondent, the situation has led to dryness in the city and people trekking long distances to get to their destinations.
A Secondary School student, Chukwubuike Ike, who goes to school from Agbani road to Ogui New Layout fears he may drop out of school if the situation continues.
“My parents cannot afford N600 for my transport daily; it’s too high,” he lamented.
A manager in one of the petrol stations in Enugu, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said he could not really say what was the problem or the reason for the continued hike.
“I don’t really know; all I know is that I sell what I am told to sell, that’s all,” he said.
The Federal Government had hinted that petrol subsidy would end by March 2023.
Analysts say Government might be using the current scarcity to prepare Nigerians to adjust to inevitable increase in petrol pump price when subsidy is eventually removed.