3 January 2012

Nigeria: Travellers Stranded in Enugu, Gusua, Bauchi

The removal of fuel subsidy as announced by the Petroleum Product Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) took its toll on travellers in Enugu yesterday as prices of transportation increased by over 300 per cent.

In Gusau, Zamfara State, the cost of transport fares rose by 50 per cent as transport cost in a commercial car from Gusau to Abuja which was previously N2,500 is now N3,000; Gusau to Kano is up to N1,500 from N1,000; Gusau to Kaduna is now N1,500 from N900.

Also, most filling stations rose within the Enugu metropolis refused to open for business, while the very few that opened sold at cut-throat prices.

While a particular filing station along Agbani road sold at N200 per litre, another one along Abakpa sold at N180 per litre. None of the major marketers opened for business.

Road transport operators at the ever busy Old Park, Market Road and Holy Ghost made brisk business as they increased transport fares. While travellers from Enugu to Lagos paid N5,000 as against the usual N1800 during the yuletide celebrations.

Also, transport fares to nearby places like Enugu to Onitsha, Enugu to Umuahia, Aba, or Port-Harcourt tripled.

Most of the travellers, some of whom were trying to return to their base in order to be at work today (Tuesday) but could not afford to pat the high fares had to return to their homes hoping that the prices might crash soon.

A particular traveller, who gave his name as Kelechi said he was rushing back to Abuja in order to go to work tomorrow but with the present high transport fare he could not any more.

"What do I do? I have begged some people around to help complete my money but nobody responded. The best for me now is to go back," he said.

Equally, it was gathered from the Gusau central motor park that many passengers cancelled their planned trips because of the increment in the fares.

In Kano also, transport fares rose as okada riders minimum fare now is N100 instead of N50 while transport from Bata to Gidan Murtala in a taxi now is N200 and Gwarzo to Kano is now N400 instead of the previous N200, while Kano to Kaduna is now N2,000, Abuja is now 4,000.

Most of the passengers interviewed by THISDAY expressed displeasure over the fuel subsidy removal, describing it as a means of causing trouble in the country.

Meanwhile, intra-city and inter-state transportation fares have been hiked in Bauchi State.

Passengers going to Lagos and Ibadan from Bauchi now have to pay N8,000 and N9,000 depending on the type of car they want to board instead of the previous N5,000.

THISDAY checks revealed that Muda Lawal and central market motor parks that many passengers patronise are recording low commercial activities due to cancellation of passengers planned trips yesterday because of the increment in the fares.

A driver at the Jos Road Park, Malam Abdullahi Shehu told THISDAY that the drivers were feeling the impact of the increment of fuel pump price, lamenting that "now our business is not moving forward. Passengers were returning home immediately we tell them the new price, and this is a serious matter."

He said filling stations were not helping matters as some of them sell between N147 and N168 per litre, adding that most of the stations are selling their old stock at these prices.

While appealing to petrol dealers to" have the fear of God as they sell petrol now especially at this difficult period, he also called on the government to revisit the fuel issue with the intention of returning it to its former pump price.

Also, Bauchi to Abuja now costs N2,500 from N1,300 and Bauchi to Jos is now between N8000 to N1000 from the previous price of N500 while intra city transport, particularly in Bauchi metropolis which is mainly by taxi, buses and Achaba (commercial motorcycles), the fares has increased to over 100 per cent.

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