Due to the recent hike in petroleum pump price across the country, commercial vehicle owners in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been forced to increase transportation fare or increase the number of persons against the 50% capacity order by the Federal Government.
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in June lifted the interstate movement order across the country, with a safety measure order that vehicles can only fill 50% of their capacities.
However, the Federal Government’s recent increase of the ex-depot price of petroleum to N151.56 per litre has exposed Nigerians to risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus so as to make ends meet.
Some commuters told our correspondents public vehicle owners have been forced to adopt its former 100% passenger capacity to alleviate the hardship already cushioned by the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians.
Platinumpost correspondent observed that smaller commercial vehicles like Golf saloon, corolla now board four passengers at the back seat and two passengers in the front seat, to enable passengers to pay the usual fare.
However, for passengers who insist that COVID-19 safety measures must be observed, are forced to pay for the extra seats.
A passenger, Godwin Ahmodu pointed out that it is difficult managing to transport in Nigeria because of the pandemic, adding that the recent fuel hike makes life unbearable.
He described the recent fuel hike as “outrageous irrespective of the rationale behind it.”
He said “prices change almost every week you go out to board a bus. Sometimes you don’t have the exact transportation fare that you need.
“The cost of boarding some of these big coaster buses from Mararaba to town is now as high as N300, which is not supposed to be.”
For another passenger James Enikewe, the timing for the hike of fuel is not right, “even if there should be an increase in the prize, it should not be done in this pandemic season.”
He pointed out that “people are still struggling to survive, and some people have been at home since March without income or salaries.
“We have become slaves in our own land.”
Prior to the pandemic, Enikewe said he pays N300 from Area 1 to Gwagwalada but now pays N500 when they observe COVID-19 safety order or N400 without the safety order.
“Sometimes people still come to beg drivers who are forced to run at a loss just to help them. So, you see is not easy for us and it is not easy for them.” Enikewe said.
On her part, Princess Suleman said she understands the government have to make decisions that are best for the country, “but to be honest, the fuel increment is really telling on me.”
She explained that “these days we spend more and earn less. This pandemic has increased almost everything. It’s really crazy and I’m not comfortable with this fuel hike.”
Contrary to others, Chimobi Uzoma opined that the recent hike in petroleum is “actually not a bad idea because he sees it from a point of development.”
He, however, called on the government to explain to Nigerians why they decided to make such move considering the plights of Nigerians.