The toll following the Federal Government’s surprise hike in pump price of petrol by about 87 per cent from N86.50 to N145 maximum on Wednesday is finally taking on many Nigerians.
While a few have welcome the development, especially those outside Lagos and Abuja, who have been buying the product even above the new pump price, others, including the Labour and rights activists, have condemned the decision and are kicking for action towards a reversal.
Immediately the hike was announced, filling stations that hoarded or refused to dispense the product the previous day, including some that never sold for days or weeks, quickly adjusted their pumps and came back to live.
Unfortunately, some stations, including in Lagos, were still selling above the official price, ranging between N150 and N200 per litre.
But many Nigerians are beginning to adjust to the reality in several ways, hoping that it would bring an end to perennial scarcity.
Across the country, especially in Lagos, there appears to have been some reduction in the number of vehicles on the road, as some private car owners resorted to public/commercial vehicles for their movement to reduce the amount spent on transportation.
Sina Olabode, a Lagos resident, said he adopted the option to reduce the amount he spends on petrol and had decided to take his car at most three times a week.
“I will go by public transport the remaining two days and spend the money on something else. Times are hard now and one has to device means to survive,” he said.
Apart from the wealthy and government/corporate executives, there has also been a slight reduction in the number of cars with glasses wound up with air-conditioners on.
As one resident, Yinka Oguns, puts it: “I only turn on my AC when necessary, like when I get to a dusty place, the weather becomes too hot or when I get to a black spot to avoid being robbed easily.
“If the weather is cool or traffic is moving, why should I switch on my AC and waste petrol?”
It has also been observed that Nigerians now run their generating sets for fewer hours, unlike before, except when very necessary.
At home and in offices/business outfits, there is gradually a decline in generator noise pollution, as people try to cut down on petrol consumption.
But Iweka Chukwuma, a business centre operator, and Wasiu Lawal, who operates a barbing salon, bemoaned that erratic power supply from the national grid has made matters worse.
“If we had enough power supply, why would I buy petrol and cope with generator noise?
“It is because there is no electricity that we use generators most of the time. So, it will be good if government can do something about power supply, because the deregulation in that sector has failed, as the Gencos and Discos are not giving us light,” Chukwuma stated.
The hike in the price of petrol has also made Nigerians to curtail travels and drive-round visits.
As Femi Olukoya, who plies the Lagos-Ibadan route almost every weekend for one social function or the other puts it: “I have to pick and choose which event to attend now. If I must attend some, I would have to travel sometimes by public transport, no matter how high.