Fuel price reduction: Not yet Hurray …! for Lagos’ commuters
A WEEK after the Federal Government, through the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezeani Aliison-Madueke, announced the slight reduction in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from N97 to N87, many Lagos commuters are yet to benefit from the downward review.
Although, many petrol stations in the metropolis and other border communities have since complied with the directive, some are still retaining the old price.
Con-oil at Ikeja after Ikeja-Along Bus-Stop has adjusted its meter in compliance with the directive and selling at the pruned N87.00 price.
Vehicle owners, including commercial vehicle owners, were seen taking the advantage of the adjusted pump price.
In the same vein, FO Filling Station at Local Airport (Murtala Muhammed Mini Airport 2) has also complied by adjusting its pump price to N87.00.
At MRS Filling Station in Amuwo Odofin, the pump price still stood at the old price of N97.00. There were no traces of any vehicle whether private or commercial patronizing the station.
A few of these defiant petrol stations visited by The Guardian, however, argued that they could only adjust to the new price regime after exhausting their current supplies.
The truth is, they are not even in a hurry to adjust their meter to reflect the new pump price.
In some other fuel stations visited around Agege and Mushin areas of the metropolis, the petrol attendants were very smart not to display any price on the meter, so as not to incur the anger of the authorities, while they still sell at the old price of N97 to unsuspecting customers, especially those who buy in jerry cans.
Commenting on the new price, a private vehicle owner who craved anonymity said it was a good move by the government.
“Some years ago, Nigerians demonstrated because of increase in fuel pump price but this year, it is not only that we are still buying at the normal price, but that the price has been reduced. We can attribute this to the sensitivity of the government and if the government can continue like this, it would earn a good name before Nigerians” he said.
However, commuters, who are still groaning over the high cost of transportation, have called for reduction in transport fares so they could feel the impact of the N10 reduction.
According to the commuters, government’s move would amount to nothing if transport fares still remained the same.
This concerns from Lagos commuters came after a hint by the Delta State chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) led by Mr. Ifeanyi Obi, of a possible reduction of transport fares as result of the slash in pump price.
Obi was quoted as saying that the effect of the reduction would trickle down, after he lauded the Federal Government for reducing the price of petrol.
One of such concerned Lagos commuters, Ms. Lucia Adegboyega who works on Lagos Island lamented that four days after the adjustment, transport fares still remain unchanged.
According to her, four days is enough for commuters to notice the effects of the new price regime
She said: “ I still pay between N200 and N250 from Berger to Obalende, which happens to be the case before the reduction.”
“As it stands, it is only private car owners and commercial bus drivers who are benefiting from the reduction, while commuters, who are in the majority, still groan under the high cost of transportation.
Another commuter, Michael Onche, said commercial drivers were not likely to willingly reduce the fares, without government’s intervention.
He, however, regretted that Lagosians might likely continue to pay the old transport fare for a long time, because no government official is ready to enforce anything now because of the forthcoming elections.
But a bus driver, Taofeek Aina, who plies Ikeja- Adeniji route, said the reduction was so minimal to attract reduction in transportation fare.
According to him, it will be difficult to reduce the fare considering other fees paid the touts known as Agberos and transport unions at various bus stops.
He said: “ There are several groups collecting one form of money or the other from transporters. These groups of people are not ready to reduce what they collect from us. So if there should be reduction, then these collection of money sometimes with full cooperation of security operatives should stop.”
It would be recalled that the Secretary General, Nigeria Labour Congress, Peter Ozo-Eson, had, while commending the Federal Government on the fuel pump reduction, pleaded with transporters and transport operators to ensure the benefits of the price reduction got to commuters.