Barely 24 hours after the announcement of the removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu, price of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) increased by 200 per cent in Awka, the Anambra state capital.
Tinubu, the 16th newly sworn-in President of Nigeria while delivering his inaugural speech had said the fuel subsidy was no longer sustainable.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who monitored the situation reports that most filling stations in the state capital were closed while the few that were open sell at between N620 and N635 per liter.
NAN also reports that long queues have also returned in most filling stations owned by independent marketers while the major marketers were closed.
Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, the National Vice President, of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide expressed dismay at the development noting that it would worsen the plight of the masses.
According to him, that statement has been one of the cardinal campaign points of the new president.
Okeke-Ogene said that the benefit of the fuel subsidy removal remained tiny to the understanding of the public noting that its possibility and benefit to the masses was not clear yet.
“We heard there are lots of fraud being perpetrated in the oil subsidy but the effort of its removal by past administration under President Goodluck Jonathan was opposed by the opposition party of All Progressives Congress (APC) then.
“President Buhari’s government did not remove the subsidy,I wonder about the rush by Tinubu. The new President should have necessary plans in place to cushion any hardship as a result of this action,” he said.
Okeke –Ogene said that after the pronouncement that filling stations stopped dispensing of the product and now the price had tripled.
“We need to know the pros and cons associated with the suspension, whether the official pump price will rise from N194 per litre to N500 by government price while the private operators fix theirs at will.
“The purchasing power of Nigerians is very low, there is no increase in salaries of workers yet house rents are on the increase, school fees, electricity bills, transportation fare, and cost of living are all in the increase, will the subsidy removal be added to the pain?,” he asked.
He said, “We hear that Fuel subsidy is killing Nigeria’s economy, costing it 10 billion dollars alone in 2022. Nothing had been done to cushion expected hardship.
Mr Fabian Chima, a trader and parent described the pronouncement as the worst mistake by the new president.
According to him, President Tinubu should have learnt from the experience of the Naira redesign which made life unbearable for many Nigerians.
”How will the masses survive with the increase in the pump price of fuel occasioned by the subsidy removal?”
Mr Ugochukwu Okeke, a private fuel station operator, said that they hoped the new government would provide a friendly business environment for them to ensure that petroleum products would come to them at a reasonable cost to avoid hiking the product.
Okeke said that the dealers would at all times wish to contribute their part in providing a happy state for the people knowing that the product was a social service but not to strangle their own business
“This issue is going to be a realistic partnership between the body and government so that everybody will be comfortable both the buyers, sellers and government,” he said.