Nsukka - ------------------- Residents of the seven local government barea of old Nsukka Cultural zone of Enugu State have expressed worry over the recent hike in the price of petrol and cooking gas in area.
Marketers in the zone hiked petrol price from N162 to N175 even as the Nigerian National Ppetroleum Corporation, NNPC, insisted that there would be no fuel increase in February and March, 2021, as the country had enough reserves to last throughout the two months period.
However, speaking in separate interviews with reporters, in Nsukka on Monday, the residents lamented the continued rise in the price of the commodities following the illegal hike in fuel price, saying that the situation had further worsened the economy of many families in the area.
A housewife, Mrs Angela Ugwuanyi expressed surprise that a 12.5-kg cylinder of gas she refilled with N4500 in December, now costs N5000, while 6.5kg previously sold for N2000, now costs N2500.
She says dAccording to Ezema, “I am surprised over this astronomical increase in the price of the commodity,” Ezema said.
Also, a female teacher, Mrs Stella Mamah lamented the increase in both petrol and cooking gas, and appealed to the Federal Government to urgently intervene, since the development was attributed to the high foreign exchange rate.
Mamah said she would return to use of firewood as it was not easy to use kerosene stove, as the cost has also remained very high after exhausting her last refill.
“The problem with kerosene stove is that it stains the pot and does not cook fast like gas.
“Government should please intervene immediately before the situation gets out of hand. The way things are, I am afraid if we will survive in this country because the hardship it too much and those in authorities are not addressing them but creating more burdens," she said.
A resturant operator, Mrs Chiamaka Ogbu, said the price hike had affected her business, adding that she was spending a lot on cooking gas as well as fuelling her motorcycle which she uses to reduce the cost of . transportation.
A civil servant, Mrs Vivian Uko, also, described the situation as very worrisome and urged government to intervene to put an end to it.
Her words, “Nigerians have yet to recover from hardship caused by COVID-19 pandemic, which crippled many businesses and rendered many people jobless.
“Without cooking gas, many families will not be able to get food on their table.
“Government should intervene to save Nigerians from further exploitation by cooking gas dealers."
A cooking gas dealer in the town, Mr Nnamdi Ikemefuna, who spoke to reporters, blamed the unfortunate situation on the failure by the Central Bank of Nigeria to create a dedicated window for foreign exchange for the importation of cooking gas.
According to Ikemefuna, “Importers of cooking gas source foreign exchange at high price and this affects the price of the product.
“The cost of importation dictates the price it gets to consumers because no importer runs a charitable organisation."