A cross section of Nigerians have reacted angrily to the recent increase in fuel pump price by the government. The pump price was jacked up from a little above 123 naira per litre to the new price of N140.80k. The Petroleum Product Price Regulatory Agency approved the new pump price against the backdrop of the excruciating pains the citizens are currently experiencing on account of the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced many out of job while several others are idle. Those interviewed strongly condemned the price increase calling on the authority to recind its decision and revert to the old price because of the untold hardship that would be visited on the struggling masses who they say are already overstretched. Mr. Patrick Ogbaji, a Lagos based aviation and allied business entrepreneur described the raise in pump price as insensitive for the Muhammadu Buhari government to contemplate or think about when many Nigerians are yet to come to terms with the deadly blow inflicted on them admist the COVID-19 pandemic still ravaging the world and hitting Nigeria hard.
“People are yet to recover from the shock and the government is talking about fuel price increase, he lamented. And for Engr. Santos Nwachukwu, the government is not only insensitive to the plight of the citizens but enjoys seeing the people suffering, otherwise an administration that has the people’s interest at heart would do everything necessary to cushion the effect of the lockdowns occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic through the equitable distribution of palliatives which he said they failed abysmally to achieve. In his words, “When the oil price was down the government decreased the pump price but not all the filling stations complied. Maybe this is a trick to finally remove the suspicious fuel subsidy.
” Others spoken to who chose not to be mentioned described the government decision to increase fuel price as a huge joke capable of bringing more hardship on the people. They contend that transporters have increased fares by 100-200 percent since the government introduced the guidelines on physical distancing with fewer passengers in a bus, but still the drivers often time violate the rules by carrying more passengers and charge the same amount. Some others condemned the docility of the Labour Union and human rights activists who they look upon to lead protest against arbitrary increase in prices of goods while others are calling for the introduction of price regulatory agency to check the excesses of those they called shylock traders. Transporters, they cry out now charge N100 for a journey of N50. Some commuters pay as much as 200-300 naira instead of 100 naira before the COVID-19-induced fare was slammed on them.