…Nigerians Express Concerns Over Immediate Implementation***
The fuel queue which had created motley crowds of rowdy buyers on Tuesday and the early part of Wednesday in the few dispensing petrol stations, suddenly disappeared in Ibadan, as filling stations changed prices and hiked it to N500 per litre.
A petrol station on the old Ife Road, near the Loyola College, had dispensed fuel earlier at slightly above N200 per litre to grudging customers, until the Station managers received new directives, mandating them to hike their price.
They complied, and momentarily, the queue disappeared, as buyers fled the petrol station. Even those who had claimed that they came into the station with their vehicles on red light, suddenly had enough to drive home.
A correspondent who drove through the city, from Alakia, through Total Garden to the University of Ibadan, observed that more stations hitherto closed for business opened stations, immediately. Only the Bovas had little patronage because buyers could vouchsafe their integrity.
In the meantime, Nigerians have expressed concern over the sudden implementation of subsidy removal in spite of President Bola Tinubu’s assurance that it would not take effect immediately.
In Lagos, it was a matter of shock for buyers as the new price came up.
On the Ogudu – Toll Gate- Berger axis, Commuters, particularly those on the Inter-State trips, expressed bewilderment, and started slashing whatever litres they had planned to buy.
Some drivers threatened to go back to their Parks, even as several passengers cough out additional fares.
The story from Port Harcourt, was however that shocked buyers simply watched, helplessly. (See video).
A cross section of residents of Ibadan, Oyo State, however expressed their feelings on Wednesday in separate interviews in Ibadan.
An Entredepreneur, Mr Tobi Adeyemi, said the development was not a good one.
According to Adeyemi, the new administration should have provided some sort of respite for Nigerians considering the enormous hardship being faced by Nigerians.
“This will definitely affect prices of goods and services; from tomatoes sellers to foodstuffs; transportation, increase in fuel price and so on.
“We will all bear the brunt of it together. I only pity salary earners who are on a fixed income. Besides, I don’t believe this is the right timing,” Adeyemi said.
Also, a sales representative, Dr Adeyinka Adekunle, said the previous administration had budgeted for subsidy till the end of June.
“So, to me it was shocking to learn that the removal had taken effect from May 31 based on what the previous administration had done.
“Everything is sort of confusing now because of the budgetary provision for subsidy till June end,” Adekunle said.
He however, said a nation that was going to be great has to go through some teething periods.
In his remarks, an artisan, Mr Akinola Akinkunmi, said he has yet to comprehend the situation, because things were hard already and buying fuel at N500 per litre now would worsen the situation.
Akinkunmi said: “I cannot yet wrap my mind around how my business will survive; we are already struggling to make ends meet.
“With this development and absence of power supply from the distributing company, we are definitely going further down the poverty line.
“We need support from the government; we need help to survive this time,” Akinkunmi said.
Another entrepreneur, Mr Demola Adedeji, said the timing was not right as the economy had been in bad shape for some time now.
“At least, some things should have been put in place before the total removal of subsidy,” Adedeji said.
In his contributions, Mr Yinka Ajadi, a businessman, said that many people would go into depression as blood pressure of many Nigerians struggling to survive the situation would rise.
Ajadi said, “We can only hope for critical intervention at this time such as solving the problem of power and production inputs.”
Meanwhile, the orchestrated meeting between the Federal Government and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) over subsidy removal has reportedly ended in a stalemate.
The Maritime First learnt that the meeting which was held at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday failed to attract any reasonable conclusion, as parties across the divide stuck to their guns.
It was further gathered that while the Organised Labour was represented by NLC National President, Joe Ajaero, and the President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Festus Osifo, and other top labour party notchers.
The Federal Government was however represented by people who included the former labour leader and former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, President Bola Tinubu’s spokesman, Dele Alake, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited Mele Kyari, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
Specifically, the National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero reportedly criticised the Federal Government, stressing the need to revert to the status quo ante, because the government failed to either negotiate or protect the Nigerian workers’ interest, before yanking off the subsidy.
The Federal Government on the other hand had argued that the labour had all the time in the world to negotiate with the Buhari government and therefore lacked the moral rights to talk of negotiations now.
The Organised labour therefore said it was going to throw the inconclusive results of their meeting to the Congress whose decision would be final, a euphemism for a nationwide strike.
Consequently, Government representatives called for a rescheduled meeting in a bid to enable further discussions or negotiations.