Economic and other activities were on Friday brought to a halt in Cross River State as long queues surfaced at filling stations following the pronounced increment in the pump price of fuel.
DAILY POST reports that thousands of government workers, businessmen and women, as well as other passengers waited for unavailable vehicles to convey them to their respective workplaces and businesses.
Our correspondent reports that the sudden increase in the pump price of fuel from N170 to N207-N210 or more might have caused the unavailability of commercial vehicles as transporters refused to operate.
However, commercial drivers who were willing to operate, according to Effiong Okon, who plies Eight Miles in Calabar Municipal, charge N200 as against the original N100 while a town drop now goes for N100 or more depending on the distance.
“Well, I bought fuel this morning at N210 a litre and the only way I can make a profit or gain is to double the charge. Secondly, look at the long queue of frustrated passengers; we have to help them. This Government doesn’t mind what her citizens are passing through.
“Some of them are government workers, they are already late to work because there is no commercial vehicle and most of the private car owners cannot fuel their cars because of the difficult situation in Nigeria,” Okon said, adding that the increase was only favoured by the independent marketers.
Also speaking, a businessman at Etim Edem Motor Park told our reporter that his business has crumbled as there was no customer at his food items shop, noting that the park itself was empty and deserted.
“Government needs to do something now. People are suffering,” he said
“Look at that place (Pointing to another spot), there is always a large crowd of people coming to eat and merry but as we are talking, the people there are not up to three, it is very sad, the increase in fuel has caused more harm than good.”
At the state secretariat, Murtala Mohammed Highway and other government offices, our reporter observed that most of the offices were empty as workers could not report on duty due to the increase in fuel price.
A staff in the office of the governor who lamented the increase in fuel pump price said, “Look at how scanty the offices are, even though today is Friday, it had not always been like this, this fuel increase has affected so many things, now the price of foodstuff has increased, a plate of food is now N600-N1000 or more depending on where you eat.
“The vegetable, daily, tomatoes, rice, beans sellers have all increased the prices of their product basing it on the high cost of transportation, where are we heading in this country, my parents did not pass through this,” he lamented.
It would be recalled that the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has finally released the latest guiding retail price of premium motor spirit (PMS), petrol, at an average of 211.11 per litre for February and possibly March.