By TONY EDIKE
ENUGU—THE removal of fuel subsidy as announced by the Petroleum Product Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, took its toll on travelers in Enugu yesterday as transport fares increased by over 300%.
Also, most filling stations 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 travelers from Enugu to Lagos paid N5,000 as against the usual N1,800 during the Yuletide celebrations, those traveling to Lagos paid N5,500 per passenger.
Also, transport fares to nearby places like Enugu to Onitsha, Enugu to Umuahia, Aba, or Port-Harcourt tripled.
Most of the travelers, some of who were trying to return to their base in order to be at work today (Tuesday) but could not afford to pay the high fares had to return to their homes hoping that the prices might crash soon.
A particular traveler, 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 lamented urging President Jonathan to reverse the decision without delay.
”AS Nigerians continue to lament removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government, Managing Director of Peace Mass Transit Limited, Sam Onyishi, yesterday, urged President Goodluck Jonathan to remove subsidy in governance.
Onyishi told newsmen that Jonathan should reduce the high cost of running government in the country to make the masses trust him and his team on the removal of fuel subsidy.
The renowned mass transit operator called on those in government to reduce long convoys, numerous aides and large number of committees , and also shun corruption, to have more money in government coffers for development and creation of jobs.
Said Onyishi: “The Federal Government and the various state governments should reduce the number of government functionaries and shun official corruption as their own sacrifice.
“The cost of running government is too high. So, let us also remove subsidy on governance and concentrate on job creation for the youths.”
He however urged his fellow transport operators not to capitalize on this development to charge fares unnecessarily, but to see this as a call for service to God and the country, being one of the reasons why God raised them as managers of these resources.
According to him, the 120 percent increase in the price of PMS means a maximum of 20-30 percent increase in the cost of transportation on vehicles using PMS and 0 percent on vehicles using diesel, stressing that the cost of goods, which are transported by trucks, which use diesel, should not increase because the cost of diesel did not increase.
Reminding his colleagues that they are holding their positions in trust for God and must use it to serve the people and not to exploit them, Onyishi also challenged the government to fulfill her promise to dualise all our major roads and highways, so that their vehicles would have less accidents, while safer journeys would increase passengers confidence on the transporters and transcend to higher turnovers for them.
He appealed to Government to embrace more dialogue, equitable distribution of our common wealth, political position and infrastructural development as only this would ensure a peaceful co-existence among Nigerians, adding that we need truth, unity and peace to ensure growth in Nigeria.