By Halimah Adisa
The Federal Government of Nigeria has for the umpteenth time confirmed the return of fuel subsidy, this is as the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) on Thrusday released a new price template indicating about 33% increment in the pump price of petroleum produce.This unprecedented hike expectedly has however caused an uproar amongst the citizens.
The Nigerian Twitter community, an opinion outlet available to many Nigerians, especially the youths populace have since the announcement of the upward price adjustment, gone up on flame, with many dissidents expressing their unfavorable dispositions to the government’s decision. The price of fuel was sold for 87 Naira per litre in 2015; and onwards to the most recent price of N161, and now to N212.6 per litre as announced on Thursday.
Although, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has insisted that there is no increment in the ex-depot price of petrol this month despite a template released by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency that the new price of petrol has now reached N212.6 per litre.
Regardless of these conflicting stances of NNPC and PPPRA in their separate statements, the reality of increment has however prompted concerns from many quarters, and significant of which are the concerns for the universities’ students welfarism in this new regime of petroleum price inflation. What consequences this pose for the students academic comfort, generally, and in some dare cases, what is the fate of students, especially the off campus residents?
Tertiary schools students have just resumed school after the abstruct long holidays occasioned by the global pandemic. Resultantly also, the inherent byproducts of the pandemic which inadvertently have also brought about what has been known as new normal. To University of Ilorin students, for instance, this has translated to increment in the prices of essentials in the school, talking of transportation fares and other commodities. For clarity, students of University of Ilorin now have to shuttle school with nothing below 160 Naira per trip against the pre-COVID fare of one hundred naira to and fro.
Effectively, with this new increment in the pump price of fuel, there is a high possibility that the Mini bus (Korope) drivers will increase their fares. This is to be while unmindful of the fate of the students who are self-sponsors or those who do not have means but live off the mouths of their parents. This in picture will, no doubt, set a dispute ground between students and the drivers in school.
In a chat with one of the motorists, he unsuspectingly confirmed the fear for a possible hike in the transportation fares. This increment in fuel price, according to him, will affect his business as a driver especially if there are no effects in the shuttle business.
Ways This Increment Will Affect Students
Amongst many other causal effects of this increment, there are two significant ways in which this unprecedented development will affect the students.
Hoarding of Fuel
As a tradition amongst the independent petroleum marketers in Nigeria, there is a high tendency that petrol stations will refuse to sell fuel to the commuters. When depots refuse to put out their fuel for sale there would be scarcity of busses to convey students to school. This has always happened when depots decide to hoard petrol for themselves.
Consequently, Possible Increment in Transportation:
Once it gets tough for drivers to cope with this price they will make meetings to increase price in transportation to and fro. Or will sometimes decide to not convey students when things grow beyond expectations. This actively means students would be at the forefront receiving unfairness for the inability of the government.
To sum up everything, Nigeria as a country should always watch out for those that would be affected when they are about to make decisions. Students are in school and should be provided the ultimate avenue to them at all cost. Speaking with Mr Wasiu, a motorcycle driver, he complained about the hike and how he is envisaging what will happen to him when the depot starts selling for N212. He explained that though most depots still sell at N170 per litre.