• Product sells between N250 and N500 in most states  • Many abandon their cars at home, trek to work

• Others find it difficult to power their generators

By Cosmas Omegoh, Olakunle Olafioye (Lagos), Scholastica Onyeka (Makurdi), Sylvanus Viashima (Jalingo), Lateef Dada (Osogbo), Paul Osuyi (Asaba),  Ighomuaye Lucky (Benin), Geoffrey Anyanwu (Enugu),

Jeff Amechi Agbodo (Onitsha), Layi Olarewaju (Ilorin), Tony John (Port Harcourt), and Priscilla Ediare (Ado-Ekiti)

Nigerians are experiencing untold hardship foisted on them by scarcity and high cost of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol. 

Currently, there is fear that the situation might get worse.  

Over the past years, no one has witnessed such a prolonged fuel crisis like this.  

Wherever you turn to, Nigerians are feeling the heat. They cannot buy petrol to power their vehicles and their generating sets.

Wherever petrol is now found, a market population gathers craving for it. Queues snaking across long distances are formed even when the price of the product ranges between N250 and N500 per litre, depending on the time and place.

 Consequently, many commercial vehicle operators are now sourcing petrol at the thriving black market and then double their fares on every route, thus further spreading sorrow and sadness.         

When our correspondents went to town to see what is happening in the states, they came back with tales of people suffering, but have refused to be broken.   

In Benue State, fuels sells between N300 –N320 

In Benue, fuel is sold at prices between N300 and N320 at the fillingstations while the black-market operators sell at N400 per litre.

In Makurdi, Katsina Ala and Otukpo, the situation is the same. Residents now prioritise their journey and spending. 

Those who spoke to our correspondent said that they had long packed their generators. They now only manage to fuel their cars. Fueling cars and generators is akin to committing suicide, they said. 

“Because of the cost of fuel, I told myself that if I fuel my car and my generator at the same time, I might not survive it.

“This New Year; we need to buy food, pay fees and rent, which are equally very high. The government needs to quickly do something to reduce the price of fuel,”   Helen Kutse, a resident, said.

While expressing her pain in sourcing fuel, another resident, Tamenor Kwaghzer, said: “I was lucky to buy fuel from one of the major marketers the last time; it was selling at government approved price. But recently, I bought fuel for N300, and I have long put away my generator. It will be too expensive for me to fuel both my car and generator at the same time.”

Mr Sunday Ogli, who stays in Otukpo, disclosed that fuel was not even available in most fuel stations. 

“Even when you see it, the queue is longer the Onitsha Bridge; the chaos alone will discourage you, yet you can’t buy it at anything less than N300 per litre.

“The last time we went to Adoka in Otukpo LGA, we bought fuel for N320 per liter,” he said. 

Taraba State residents buy between N300 – N500

In Taraba State, it was gathered that some Jalingo residents and other areas in the state have resorted to doing other things ingenious to survive.

More than 90 per cent of fuel stations in the state have closed down because they don’t have fuel to sell. Those that manage to get supply sell at exorbitant prices ranging between N300 and N350 per litre. Hawkers sell for N500 and above; only NNPC Mega stations sell at less than N200.  

Consequently, some people have been forced to abandon their cars and use public transport while most people have resorted to trekking. 

Mr Victor Eradi, a resident of Jalingo,  told our correspondent that he had just found passion in walking for relatively short distances, adding that doing that is also healthy.

A commercial vehicle driver from Wukari, Mr Daniel Sule, said that he had to temporarily abandon his business after he ran out of fuel in the middle of a trip to Jalingo and had to spend the night on the road.

 Some barbers’ shops now use cordless clippers and solar-powered fans to remain in business.

But the worst hit by the situation are dry-season farmers who are abandoning their farms because they can no longer afford fuel to power the water pump machines to  irrigate their fields. This is because the mega stations that sell fuel at regulated prices rarely sell to customers in jerry cans for fear that they may be hawkers. 

A public affairs analyst, Mr Albert Ulegha, said that as things are, some people might resort to using animals and bicycles as means of transportation.

Lagos State: Motorists, residents bemoan scarcity, products sells between N250 –N350

Also in Lagos State, residents are battling one of the worst energy crises in recent times. 

Motorists are groaning endlessly over the development, which is impeding their operations. Wherever fuel is found, residents join long queues to buy the product even at exorbitant prices.   

Commercial vehicles operators are appealing to the government to find a lasting solution to the perennial scarcity, and the attendant high prices.

Mr Lateef Oseni expressed fear that the situation if not quickly checked could further compound the woes of the suffering majority.  

“Life is becoming very hard for not only us raising transport fare,” he said, adding that “we do not have choice but to raise transport fares because of scarcity of fuel. 

“About two weeks ago, we bought a litre of petrol for N250 up from N185 that it was sold for a better part of last year. But since last week up till now, we have been paying between N270 to N350 for a litre of fuel. 

“At places where you find it cheaper, the queues there are long enough to make you spend the entire day. 

“The government should address the root cause of this scarcity because it is stretching beyond what we were used to.” 

Meanwhile, crowded motor parks and passengers frantically jostling for vehicles,   are some of the immediate fallouts of the fuel crisis. This is the reality residents of the state are currently contending with. 

Our correspondent reports that transport fares have almost doubled in most parts of the state in recent weeks. For instance, on Oshodi to Sango route where commuters used to pay between N400 and N500, fares range between N800 and N1,000. A similar trend was also observed along other routes in the state.

Ms. Bukunmi Shoetan, a resident of Surulere told Sunday Sun that before now she spent an average of N1,000 to commute between Surulere and her office in Ikeja; but this had changed as she now spends an average of N1,800 daily to and fro her office.

A trip from Ikorodu to Ikeja, which prior to now was covered with a little above N2,000 now costs almost N4,000.

Artisans and other business owners who operate in the state now have greater worries over the current energy crisis in the state. 

Before now, the use of generating sets had proved to be an easy alternative source of energy in the face of epileptic power supply in the country.  

But the current lingering fuel scarcity has raised the tempo of the hues and cries over energy situation in the state as the hitherto erratic power situation takes a turn for the worse. 

Artisans and business owners in the state endlessly lamented their frustration over the crisis. 

They equally  called on the government to save Nigerians from being crushed in the mire. 

Mrs Grace Ebiyebo, who deals in frozen foods, lamented that the scarcity of fuel and the worsening power situation in the state were threatening her business. 

“I will say frozen foods business is one of the hardest hit in the country as far as the energy crisis is concerned. Unlike before when we had the option of switching to a generator whenever power supply  went off, one does not have the liberty of using the generator now because of scarcity of fuel and its high price,” she said.

Osun State: Fuel scarcity, price hike, force residents to abandon cars 

Despite the hike in price of fuel, there is scarcity of petrol in Osun State, Sunday Sun learnt.

Findings showed that many stations had closed while some were selling the product at prices between N190 and N300.

Now, some people seldom use their cars except for important occasions.  

A resident, Jide Idowu, said that  moving around unnecessarily in a car now doesn’t make sense anymore.  

“It is better to trek where necessary and board public vehicles instead.  

“I bought 10 litres of fuel at N300 per litre; I even had to manage it because the money is not there,” he said.

Another resident of Oshogbo, Adenitan Akinola, said that he could not queue for fuel at N190 per litre, regretting that the one he bought at N300 could not last him more than two days. Then he asked: “What is the sense in spending N5,000 on fuel every three days? 

“I still managed to use a generator because the hot season is here. And we have to charge our phones too because electricity is not there. So, with N1,000 I can buy fuel to use the generator.”

Delta State: Scarcity in Asaba as prices soars

Most filling stations in Asaba are not dispensing the product. They were simply shut. Those that managed to procure the product sell at prices between N235 and N300 per liter. 

It was only the NNPC Mega filling stations which experience long queues of vehicles that sell fuel at N179 per liter.

Meanwhile, residents of Asaba have since adopted measures to cope with the biting situation. 

A civil servant, Tony Umukoro, told our correspondent that he had cut waste in his family to ensure that his household survived the debacle. 

“I seldom drive my car to work these days since the price of petrol hit the roof. Since December, I parked my car and trek to work because my house is not far from the secretariat.

“Formerly, I used to go and drive my wife to her office before hitting the office. But she now uses public transport,” he said.

Another civil servant, Mrs Benedicta Tuoyo, said that she now charters a tricycle for her school run. 

“The situation is really tough, but we cannot kill ourselves. It is my husband who usually goes to queue to buy petrol if he has the time.

“If petrol is not available in the car, I have a commercial tricycle operator who I usually call to take the kids to school and bring them home at closing time,” she said.

Another resident of Asaba, Mr Victor Okafor, said that he had since adopted austere measures to deal with the situation. 

He said: “I used to run my generator every time to watch European league matches. Throughout Saturdays and Sundays, the generator would be on.

“But my brother, when I consider the stress of going to queue for petrol, I have since sacrificed that pleasure, and only indulge in it when there is public power supply, which is epileptic in my area.

Related News

“At home, at 9:00p.m, everyone goes to bed and the generator to be put off.

“We have to do this because of the rising cost of petrol; it is no longer available, and even affordable.”

Narrating his experience, Mr Sunny Egede said: “I was frustrated on Monday at the mega station when they told us that they were no longer selling fuel after we had queued for more than 2 hours.

“So, I simply drove home and parked my car so that the little fuel I had would not be wasted.”

Edo State:  Fuel sells for N300; resident now use solar panels 

In Edo State, residents now tactfully plan their movements; where such movements are not worth it, people now prefer to make phone calls. 

Car owners now avoid spending the whole day at filling stations by using public transport for their daily runs. Those who use fuel for their generators are now migrating to solar panels.

Prince Israel Orekha told Sunday Sun in Benin that he now boards commuter buses and sometimes treks to his destination.

“It is obvious that the current administration has failed the downtrodden considering increment in fuel prices from N185 to N300. 

“Here, we are not smiling. We trek while some board public transport because they can no longer afford to fuel their cars.

“More worrisome is the current administration in Edo State. They are not doing anything to regulate the prices and ensure that filling station owners sell at the official price because most of them in government and their cronies own the filling stations. This makes it difficult to regulate prices here.

“People can no longer fuel their generators even the common one they call, ‘I pass my neighbour.’ 

“So, the case is like a nightmare we have found ourselves in.” 

Another respondent, Mr Tony Abolo, lamented: “We don’t know where to go to. Is it that subsidy is gone? We do not know. How exactly do we interpret this situation?  

“I am told that it is a manipulation to pave way for the Dangote’s refinery so that when it comes, nobody will shout.”

Enugu State: Fuels sells for N350, residents use public transport 

In Enugu State, the pump price is between N320 and N350 depending on the area of the state. 

Those within the Enugu metropolis sell at N320 per litre, while in areas like Nsukka, fuel is sold between N340 and N350 a litre, the same as in some of the rural communities.

Our reporter learnt that the rising price is actually upstaging the people. Some have abandoned their vehicles, preferring to use commercial buses for their movements. Some now use their cars just on Sundays only when they take their families to church, and use public transport during the week.

A cab driver, Ifeanyi Martins said that “patronage of our business has increased; many now park their big cars which you know consume much fuel and hire us. 

“It is not easy for us because the cost of fuel; no matter what you charge, at the end you are still managing to be on the road.”

Also the rate of using generators has drastically reduced as some people who do not stay or sleep without power now use their generators sparingly. Some have abandoned theirs all together. 

Meanwhile, the rising fuel cost has increased prices in the state. A bus ride now costs N100, up from N50, while inter-city and inter-state fares   have skyrocketed above 100 per cent too. 

Anambra State: Onitsha traders, residents lament 

In Onitsha and its environs, fuel last week sold between N300 and N330 per a litre 

This has forced commercial vehicle drivers to increase transport fares by 100 per cent. This has also affected the prices of foodstuff and other commodities. 

Some residents said they now trek to the markets, while those who own cars have decided to park them to patronise public transport operators.  

A trader, Benson Nwatu, described the fuel hike as worrisome, lamenting how it had caused untold hardship to everyone. 

His words: “This hike in fuel started during the festive period; then people thought it would soon be over, but up till now the price of the product keeps increasing.

“Now, the festival period is over; we are back to experience the same thing. This is  making life more difficult for us.

“To tell you the truth, some traders who own cars have left them. They are trekking to the market, while some now board tricycles or shuttle buses to the markets.”

A resident of Nkpor, Dr Rose Onwukwe, wondered while the outgoing government had continued to plunge Nigeria into perpetual hardship since it assumed office eight years ago. 

“Life has been difficult for the people; many people don’t even eat twice daily let alone thrice daily due to hardship. There is no comfort again; some of us who have generating sets have abandoned them because we have to eat first before fueling the generator. 

“The increase in fuel has affected the price of everything in the market, yet there is no money to buy them. 

“So, I’m appealing to the government to do something very fast to supply more fuel and ensure that the dealers reduce the price of the commodity,” she said. 

She reasoned that “this increase will affect the election because many people living in townships might not afford to fuel their cars or high transport fares to go home to vote.”  

Kwara State: Residents lament increase, impact on businesses 

In Kwara State, Ilorin residents are joining their counterparts to lament the increase in price of petrol, warning that it would compound the already high cost of living in the country.

Just few filling stations are often seen dispensing fuel. Others are locked. The few that are open sell between N280 and N300 per litre. 

This is heavily impacting intra-city transit as few cars are see on the road with the operators charging higher fares than before. 

Now, commercial vehicles charge N200, up from N100 per drop. Many commuters are seen trekking long distances. 

Meanwhile, inter-city fares have also risen.  A bus ride from Ilorin to Offa that used to be N500 is now N800; Ilorin to Abuja now costs N9,000 up from N5,000; Ilorin to Lagos now is N8,000 by car and N6,000 by bus.

Traders too were lamenting poor sales due to the fuel hike. Those using generators to power their businesses have shelved the idea. 

A fashion designer, Ibrahim Jato, said that he had cut the number of hours he uses his generator to two. 

“Every time the Federal Government adjusts the price of petrol upwards, traders also increase the prices of their commodities due to rise in transportation and production cost. We are the ones suffering,” Jatto said.

A civil servant in Ilorin, Ajayi Adeniyi, feared that many civil servants would be affected by further increase in petrol price.

Mrs Ganiyat Mudashiru, a hair stylist, lamented the hike in fuel price, warning that it would further deepen the woes of the people. 

“We are also seeing that petrol might increase again; this is not going to be funny. What this means that we would be spending more money fuelling our generators. Things are already hard. Why are they compounding things for us?”

A frozen food seller, Mrs Moji Adeleke, lamented that she now spends N6,500 daily to keep her products refrigerated, adding that residents and business owners had been experiencing blackouts in the area for weeks.

Rivers State: Fuel scarcity bites harder

Residents of Rivers State too have been groaning under the excruciating weight of fuel scarcity over the last 80 days. 

It is an unusual situation as the state had never  suffered fuel shortage as it did beginning from November, 2022. 

Our correspondent learnt that some marketers had resorted to fuel hoarding so as to create artificial scarcity. 

Sunday Sun also learnt that pump price in the state varies, ranging between N290 and N335 per litre. 

Last December, fuel sold between N500 and N530 per litre. Only the NNPC filling stations sold at N179 per litre. But, there is always long queues; sometimes it takes days to buy fuel at the facility. 

Last December also, a 10-litre jerry can of fuel sold between N8,500 and N9,000 depending on the location. In some areas, it, was learnt, the dealers mixed fuel with diesel. Now, it is sold between N3,500 and N4,000.

From November, 2022 till date, transport fare had skyrocketed. Many residents of the state have curtailed their travels; many now trek some distances. 

According to Mr Michael Longjohn, a civil servant, the era of being on the wheels is going.   “If I will spend N200 going and coming back from work, does it make any sense to drive to work and waste my meager resource?” he queried.

Ekiti State: Independent marketers making a kill

In Ekiti State, the price of petrol is sold between N250 and N310 per litre by independent marketers while the major marketers sell between N180 and N190.

In some areas of Ado-Ekiti, an independent marketer sells the commodity for N295, while another sells for N300. Another in Adebayo area also sells for N300.

Outside Ado Ekiti, petrol sells between N250 and N300 per litre. 

At stations owned by independent marketers, buyers simply walk in and buy the commodity. But the reverse is the case at stations owned by the major marketers.

However, a good number of the stations in the state do not have the commodity to sell to the public.

Now, often, wherever the commodity is found, long queues are seen. Motorists and Okada riders who are not comfortable buying at very high prices often spend long hours on queues to purchase the commodity; some even sleep overnight at the stations to buy petrol at N180 or N190 per litre.

Black marketers in Ado-Ekiti sell at N600 per litre; they enjoy higher patronage when the scarcity of the commodity begins to bit harder.

Meanwhile, many in the state are adjusting to the situation.  

A resident of Ikere-Ekiti, Mr Collins Odunlade, who works in Ado-Ekiti, recalled “the situation has made things difficult. Once there is hike in fuel price, it will affect every other thing. 

“It now costs N300 to travel from Ikere to Ado and vice versa. If you are coming to Ado to do something it means you will be spending close to N1,000 on transport. But before the fuel hike it was N250. 

Mr Peter Adeleye, a businessman, who  resides in Ado-Ekiti, said: “The situation is very terrible. Many of us now find it difficult to power our generators to do our businesses not to talk of using it in our homes.

“What I have started doing recently is to regulate the number of hours I use my generator to avoid wasting fuel; when I go to some places, I mount Okada instead of going in my car.”