Less than 24 hours after President Bola Tinubu assumed office, many Nigerians have been groaning over the current fuel crisis, resulting to queues at filling stations.
In his inaugural speech, the president had announced that fuel subsidy “is gone”.
Shortly after President Tinubu announced the removal of subsidy on petrol otherwise known as fuel, queues returned in major petrol stations across the country, especially in Lagos and Abuja.
The situation grew worse on Tuesday as pump price of petrol rose astronomically.
In Ebonyi, the pump price increased to N1,200 per litre in Abakaliki, the state capital.
Scores of residents, who decried the high cost of petrol in the country, said they have since been engaged in panic buying.
Some residents were also seen with their cans as many filling stations were under lock.
A resident, Darlington Okeke, said panic buying was occasioned by Tinubu’s statement during his inauguration on Monday.
Okeke stated that petrol in filling stations was sold between N800 and N1,200, against N230 per litre.
Another resident, Ibrahim Ali, said black marketers sold a litre of fuel for N1,500, adding that the development was causing panic buying and frustration among residents.
He, however, appealed to Tinubu to address the situation to mitigate panic buying and arbitrary hoarding of the products, which marketers introduced after the announcement by the president.
In Ekiti, many petrol stations in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, were under lock and key. Some who dispensed, sold at higher pump prices such as N300 and N600. The stations later shut their gates to customers.
Many commuters were stranded as they had to walk long distances to get to their destinations.
In Delta, motorists in Asaba, the state capital, could not get fuel in some areas like Okpanam, Mariam Babagida way, Asaba/Onitsha road, among others as there were long queues and traffic jam.
Hamza Bello, a resident, who spoke with our correspondent at one of the filling stations said: “President Tinubu is not fair to Nigerians. When I heard that Tinubu has directed removal of oil subsidy, I had to rush down here to fill my tank and some jerry cans so I could on my generator”
Frank Ochuko, a motorist in Asaba said: “I was not surprised to see queues at the filling stations after the announcement. I just pray this sad and unfortunate development will not last so as not to add more suffering to Nigerians.”
Our correspondent who went round to monitor the situation immediately the announcement was made and 24 hours later, observed that many fuel stations were closed. The few who managed to open adjusted their pumps between N380 and N450 per liter.
Motorists consequently increased the fares per drop. For example, from Orji to Douglas road which was N200 is now N300 per drop. Orji to the government house roundabout which hitherto was N100 per drop was hiked to N200.
The development has elicited mixed reactions from Nigerians on social media.
While some are in support of the removal, others said it would attract untold hardship on the masses. Below are some of such comments on Twitter:
@chalrse28715413 said: “The pronouncement was unnecessary, I’ll advised and I’ll conceived. I’ll timed and amounts to putting the cart before the horse.”
@olaniya01392358 wrote: “The removal of fuel subsidy is good. But Agency in charge of Downstream sector of the Oil and Gas value chain should make sure there’s no hoarding of fuel bought at old price.”
@WIZZ_POLL: “They can not remove fuel subsidy when the President/Governors are driving around in 30 car convoys, ex-governors and NASS members are receiving crazy pay package and severance package. Cutting the cost of Governance must start from the top!”
@mzk11uk: “What I know is that @officialABAT has the right economic framework to suppress the economic hardship that will come after the removal.”
@shivormaD: “Atiku said he would removed the fuel subsidy if elected as a president during his campaign likewise Peter Obi so non of them has right to condemning the removal now.”
@wilsonchrisdl1: “Removal of subsidy is not a bad idea but with the way he presented it, is not good. Now people will be rushing to huddle fuel, including fuel stations. They should make an adequate plan to continue the hardship it will lead to. Putting people into panic is not a good idea now.”
Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Tuesday warned President Tinubu, to erase the thoughts that he would unilaterally remove the fuel subsidy.
At a press briefing, President and General Secretary of TUC, Festus Osifo and Nuhu Toro respectively said the congress and its members were horrified with Tinubu’s inaugural address.
Agency report with contributions from Meluwa Kelvin (Delta) Jude Aguguo Owuamanam (Imo), Seun Adeuyi & Onyekachukwu Obi (Abuja), and Raphael Ogbonnaiye (Ekiti).