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Fuel Scarcity, Skyrocket Prices...Nigerians Fear Bleak Yuletide

Nigerians are in the throes of a bleak Yuletide as prices of goods and services continue to soar, even as fuel scarcity enters the third week with no respite in sight.

Except something happens later this week, Nigerians with plans of travelling for the Christmas and New Year festivities will have to face steep rise in transportation cost as the powerful Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, gave indication weekend that it was embarking on strike by today, Monday.

This is coming on the heels of the biting scarcity occasioned by the strike embarked upon by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN.

Last Friday, the PENGASSAN had issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the federal government over allegations of anti-workers practices perpetrated against some of its members in Neconde Energy Limited, an indigenous oil company.

It seems the intervention of the FG failed as the association’s spokesperson, Fortune Obi, said the strike will still commence on December 18, 2018, being today, Monday.

“Following the failure of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, to settle the rift between this body (PENGASSAN) and Neconde, the management of PENGASSAN has agreed to start the strike on Monday night (December 18th, 2017),” Obi said in the statement.

Already, most major transport companies operating in the FCT have hiked their fares. Those mostly hit are travellers to the Eastern part of the country.

A passenger at one of the bus terminals in Utako told one of our correspondents that he did not bargain with as much as 50% hike, and feared that most people would have to shelve their travelling plans.

“The situation here is not funny. I had to pay extra N200 to get to this park and they are now asking me to pay N6, 500 to Enugu. This is outside the not-so-large bag I have with me. I doubt if most people can make it home this year,” he lamented.

Also, at the Nyanya bus terminal, a holiday maker to Calabar, Mr. Patrick Ita, bemoaned the hiked transport fare.

“Imagine paying N8, 000 from N5, 500 to go to Calabar. What sort of country is this? Why can’t there be fuel at this time of the year? It is indeed a shame,” Ita said.

Similarly, the prices of food stuff are on the rise with rice, chicken, vegetables and other household commodities mostly hit.

In November, National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Aiswaju Bola Tinubu, as a keynote speaker at the presentation of a book “Making steady, Sustainable Progress for Nigeria’s Peace and Prosperity: A Mid-term Scorecard on the Muhammadu Buhari Administration”, at the State House conference centre, Abuja, echoed what majority of Nigerians are facing.

He also said “It is time to lead our people to a place where poverty and hunger become infrequent and where prosperity and hope are the daily fare of the common man”.



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