05 January 2012, Sweetcrude, Yenagoa – The major roads in Yenagoa Bayelsa State capital yesterday recorded lull in traffic as most residents chose to park their cars at home due to the high cost of fuel.
Though petrol per litre cost N138 at the NNPC mega station in town but the long queue when the product is readily available has forced most residents to abandoned their vehicles at home and make do with public transport.
Many of the private owned filing stations have converted the front of their premises to black market retail outfit and selling at N200 per litre, development that resulted in scanty vehicular movement in the capital city.
The sad turn of event in the last couple of days has drawn the flak of some Bayelsans including of the former chairman of the State chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association, Stanley Damabide, the Action Congress of Nigeria, National Youth Leader, Ebikibina Miriki, the Nigerian Union of Journalists through the State Chairman, Comrade Tariyon Akono and the Union of Opposition Party led by Mr. Edwin Tare.
Some civil servants at the secretariat blamed the poor presence of workers at their duty post to their inability to pay their way back from holidays in their coastal communities due to high transportation cost.
Our correspondent who went round town however noticed increased security checkpoints on roads leading to housing and commercial buildings owned by the President and his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan.
Popular hang-out, lounges and clubs, were Wednesday deserted with few clubbers complaining about the sharp increase in prices of beer and other consumables.
The club owners claimed that the cost of procuring choice drinks have gone up astronomically.
Reacting to the sharp increase in prices of goods brought about by the recent removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government, the leadership of the ACN,NUJ, NBA and opposition parties described the action as poor and wicked and height of the government insensitivity to the plight of the masses.
The Chairman of the NUJ in Bayelsa State, Comrade Tare Akono what the union envisaged was an increase to N100 “but for the Federal Government to increase the prices of fuel to N140 is pathetic and without clear long run benefits.”
He added, ”What we have seen in the last few days in terms of astronomical increase in prices of food stuffs and other services may not come down even if palliative measures are implemented.”
According to him, “A man who claimed he had no shoes when growing has forgotten the existence of the poor while in Aso Rock. By implication, what the Federal Government and President Jonathan have done is to increase illiteracy and criminality. And also reduce the life expectancy of the people from 40 to 30 years.”
Also speaking on the issue, the defunct Save Nigerian Group coordinator in the state, Comrade Tony Ile said though the deregulation of the oil sector was not a bad idea, “what Nigerians really want to know is whether there were no subsidies before this time?”
“The issue in my opinion is lacking in transparency and too sudden. Ghana did it with ease because there was transparency and accountability at play. I think the government should define properly its intent and tell the people the direct economic benefits.”
The former NBA Chairman in the state, Comrade Stanley Damabide lamenting the removal of the subsidy said it was a clear show of deceit and irresponsibility.
“When it went ahead without allowing the people prepare their minds on a set date and without providing palliative measures, the Jonathan and FG are deceitful,” he said.
The Leader of the opposition parties in Bayelsa State under the aegis of the National Union of Political Parties (NUPP), Comrade Edwin Tare described as unbelievable the action of the Federal Government fifty years after independence.
”It is unbelievable that after 50 years, we can still be experiencing a wicked policy from government that can throw the country into crisis. What is the Jonathan government telling the masses now? I expected the government to build the peoples trust and confidence. Let the masses believe you first by the way you resolve issues.
“I think it time everyone rise up and face the challenges. These challenges are far and can be resolve by government if they are ready and sincere. It should not be a time for war as being pushed by the Jonathan administration,” he said.