November 13, 2023

High transport cost forces Enugu residents to trek long distances


Some residents of Enugu have decried the rise in transportation cost within the metropolis, which has resulted in unprecedented hardship among the people.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who monitored the development on Monday, observed that most struggling residents have resulted to trekking many kilometres daily, with its attendant risks.

Some of the commuters said the increase in transportation, occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy and non-availability palliative measures after five months, have foisted untold hardship on them.

They complained about another recent slight increase in the already unbearable transportation cost in the metropolis.

According to them, the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol, was increased from its official price of N650 per litre to N665 and N670 in most fueling stations in Enugu metropolis.

They said that in the Nsukka and Oji River axis of the state, the price of petrol is between N670 and N680 per litre.

Mr Obinna Ezinwa, a transporter plying Gariki–Holy Ghost axis of Enugu, said his colleagues felt the pains of the people, but they could do nothing about the situation.

“The high transport we charge is a reflection of the high cost of petrol that we buy to run our vehicles and the daily levy by the government which has been increased to N400 per day.

“ We have also noticed that many people have resulted to trekking and we see them sweating profusely in the hot sun just because they cannot afford to pay for transport.

“There is nothing we can do on this because of the prevailing high cost of fuel,’’ he said

Mr Jude Okoli, a tricycle operator said they no longer charge N50 any more from commuters, notwithstanding a very short distance.

Okoli said the least fare commercial tricycles take from a passenger is N100 because the cost of transportation had increased by over 100 per cent.

“It is regrettable to see many pupils, whose schools are far from their homes, trekking for about four to six kilometers in the morning and as well make the reversal trip in the hot afternoon after school.

“It is obvious that people are passing through difficult times while the state government has not shown any concern or roll out measures to mitigate the effects,” he said.

A resident of Enugu, Mr Okechukwu Obineri, decried the lack of plans by the government to mitigate the effects of fuel subsidy removal, five months after the decision was taken.

“You cannot imagine that Enugu state has increased the daily levy being paid by transporters and traders even when they clearly understood the pain most people are passing through in the state due to fuel subsidy removal.

“The state is adding burdens to already  impoverished residents of the state in the name of increasing Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

“I want to advise that the state should focus more on how to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI),’’ he said.

A civil servant, Mr Cosmos Chukwuani, urged the state government to provide transport palliative for workers because, Enugu state civil servants are the least paid throughout the country.

“Some states have reduced the number of days that civil servants come to work to cushion transportation burden; while some have provided long-buses shuttle at subsidized rate for their civil servants.

“Till date, there is no scheme implemented by the state government,’’ he said.

Chukwuani said they are yet to feel the effect of the palliative approved by the federal government to all the states. (NAN)