Transporters operating from Port Harcourt to other states and local government areas in Rivers State have hiked fares by 100 per cent, blaming it on the removal of oil subsidy by the Federal Government and urged the Presidency to have a rethink of the action in the interest of the masses.
Some commercial drivers who spoke with The Tide correspondent at some motor parks in Port Harcourt yesterday said they had no alternative than to hike the transport fares inorder to meet up with the high cost of fuel, as the dealers have currently adjusted their pump prices astronomically.
A driver, Baba Kekere Adiogun, who plies Port Harcourt to Bayelsa State said it was unbelievable that the people of this country would wake-up on a New Year day and have a shocker that the Federal Government had removed the oil subsidy, which they said would take place in April this year, and appealed to the government to ensure that price of fuel is reduced as passengers are suffering as well as affecting the drivers in their daily account.
Adiogun however said passengers were paying N800.00 to Bayelsa, but now it is N1,500.00.
Mr. Michael Okon, a driver plying Port Harcourt to Calabar, Cross Rivers State had this to say, “government should look into the removal of oil subsidy which had made the price of fuel to increase because it has made transportation of goods and services to be high, increase in market prices, house rent, and everything. “So many people will be affected and I called on the Federal Government to help the poor masses who are at the receiving end.”
He disclosed that the transport fare to Calabar was N1,300 before but it had been increased to N2,000, while Samuel Okon of Ukanafun line said they charged N700 before now, but due to pump price increase, they have increased the fares to N1,300, appealing to the government to dialogue with stakeholders and bring down the price so that they could also reduce the fare.
In his view, Mr. Gideon Okafor, a driver of Umuahia route said before passengers were paying N600 but they had decided to increase it to N1,000 because of the increase in fuel and called on the Federal Government to consider the suffering masses. He said he was feeling for some passengers because as some who were about to travel could not, because of the increase in fare and hinted that there are some who travelled to their countryside (Umuahia) could not come back as the fare is now N2,000.
Within Rivers State, a driver with Sam Jaja Foundation plying Port Harcourt to Bori, Khana Local Government Area, Lawrence Duru said it is annoying that the federal government would at this time take such a decision that could jeopardise the country once again and urged that things should be normalise because passengers now pay N500 instead of N250, and that he felt for them as most of them are now complaining bitterly.
Ezekiel Peter, a driver to Asarama, Andoni Local Government Area said the transport fare was N500 before it was increased to N700 as fuel prize increases, saying it is a terrible thing and the highest increase governments in the past have made. “It is painful to pay N2,900 for a 20 litre of fuel and fill my motor tank with over N5,000. What account can I give to the owner after commission, Police on the road and other expenses, he lamented, adding that “I have not heard from any country that sells fuel N140.00 per litre in the world. It is unfortunate as prices of goods and services had already increased.
Also commenting, Mr. Eze Henry of Omoku line in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA said they are the only drivers in Boro Park fly-over that charges the lowest fare of N800 as against N600 while to Ahoada was N600 but now N700, and if the price of fuel is reduced, they are ready to bring down their f are.
Meanwhile, some individuals have also added their voice on the removal of oil subsidy by the federal government.
Mr. Brownson Beesor expressed dismay and said if organised labour could not take a bold step on the matter, then it would bring a very big problem in the country as civil servants and some poor masses who before now could not afford three square meals a day would badly be affected, and called on the government to consider the plight of the people and also repair the refineries.
A man of God, Pastor Chinedu Ndubuisi of Presence of God Ministry said, “we pray God to use him but we are surprised for his new year package, which is alarming. People are feeling very bad and after few weeks when civil servants are broke, it will be terrible. As people regard him as God sent, he should do everything to bring normalcy in the country as the spirit of God is on him and all eyes on him to revert the fuel pump price to N65.00 per litre.
In his contribution, the vice chairman, secretary of Mobile Ministers Association (MMA), Rev, Ubong Anietie has this to say, “Actually, the vision of President Goodluck Jonathan was to bring new development to the country but his action now has affected the masses, so he should do a little adjustment to favour the people.
Due to the removal of fuel subsidy, school fees will be increased as well as House rent, foodstuffs, building materials transportation and so on, let Government do some adjustment on the price and also ensure money realised from the subsidy is well utilised. Let the Boko Haram not use this to divide the country or intimitdate the southerners, as we pray for President Jonathan for God to give him wisdom, understanding, courage and guidance.
Monarch Tasks RSG, NDDC On Chokota-Umuebulu Road
The Onye Ishi Ala Chokota in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State, Eze I.S. Wekeh, has appealed to the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to add Chokota-Ikwerengwo-Umuebulu Road to their respective priority projects with a view to rehabilitating the road.
Eze Wekeh who made the appeal recently while speaking with newsmen urged the state government to come to the aid of the residents in the area, saying the area hosts several oil wells mined by Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC), therefore playing a key role in the revenue generation of the nation.
According to him, “during the time the present state government flagged-off the construction of Igbo-Rumuokwurusi Road, there was an assurance that Chokota-Ikwerengwo-Umuebulu Road will be rehabilitated, but we are still hopeful that the road is still dear to his heart, as we are still expecting result. I am also appealing to NDDC to come to the aid of the inhabitants of the area as well as the multinational corporation operating in the area”.
A resident in the area, Mrs Adaku Amadi, who spoke to The Tide, said “Things are very difficult here for us due to the bad road. Our mothers use to go to the farm with bicycle or motor cycle and they usually fall on the bad road. Some pregnant women will deliver without any medical treatment because of lack of access to medication due to bad road. So we are appealing to government to help us alleviate this suffering by rehabilitating the road”.
Another resident in the area, Mr Paul Wosu, said “my brother, we use to suffer here and we are expecting government to do something, even NDDC as an interventionist agency to come to our aid. Now you can drive in because everywhere is dry, but during the rainy season, you can not dare it, because the flood will drown you. We are still appealing for positive response from the relevant authorities”.
It would be recalled that the NDDC had sometime in 2006 promised to fix the road as part of their priority projects, but could not mobilise to site till date a result, the state government promised to rehabilitate the road.
FRSC To Prosecute Users Of Unworthy Heavy Duty Trucks
The Plateau State Sector Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it would impound and prosecute users of unworthy heavy duty trucks and articulated vehicles within Jos metropolis.
The command disclosed this in a statement signed by Route Commander Andrew Bala, its Public Education Officer, yesterday in Jos.
It expressed worry over the rampant and incessant crashes and breakdown of heavy duty trucks and articulated vehicles within the Jos metropolis.
“Crash investigation and analysis has shown that most of these crashes and breakdowns are as a result of brake failure and mechanical deficient vehicles.
“It is in this light that the command is admonishing all owners of heavy duty trucks, articulated and dysfunctional vehicles to carry out routine checks and repairs on their vehicles.
“Very soon, the command will carry out a special patrol to wipe out and prosecute offenders of unworthy vehicles within the Jos metropolis and environs that ply the highways,” the statement said.
The command advised motorists to keep enough distance from heavy duty trucks or articulated vehicles on the highway to allow for safe manoeuvering in case of any mishap.
It said that the task of ensuring safety on the highway is a shared responsibility.
It appealed to all road users to obey all traffic rules and regulations as anyone found wanting would be sanctioned accordingly.
Flyover: Commissioner Calls For Patience Over Traffic Congestion
Following the ongoing construction of Rumuokoro flyover by the construction giant, Julius Berger Plc, the Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Austin Ben Chioma, has urged motorists and road users to exercise patience and bear with the traffic situation as the construction of the flyover project progresses.
The Commissioner made the appeal on Monday in a chat with newsmen while supervising the demolition of structures at the garrison flyover construction site in Port Harcourt
He noted the traffic problems associated with the construction of Rumuokoro flyover and assured that measures would be put in place to ensure free flow of traffic at Rumuokoro.
According to him, “The company has just started the flyover at Rumuokoro, Very soon, we will work out modalities to alleviate the flow of traffic at that area. I appeal that people, especially motorists should exercise patience pending when the project will be completed. It is for the good of the whole”.
The Tide reports that Julius Berger, had since last week, blocked one of the two lanes along Eliozu-Rumuokoro Road, leaving one lane to serve the motorists.
Meanwhile, The Tide gathered that some policemen and soldiers from Bori Camp were collecting N50 each from commercial drivers who run one way along Eliozu route.
Speaking to The Tide, a taxi driver who plies Rumuokoro-Eliozu route, John Jide, said, “soldiers from Bori Camp came on the road through their back gate to the road and started collecting N50 with the allegation that we were running against the lane (one way), when it has officially been approved that motorists should use one way pending when there will be alternative provision, as the flyover construction lasts”.
Another taxi driver who plies same route, Igwe Ajam, said “police and army are disturbing us on this route. They extort so much from us. You meet police check point, they will collect N50, you move further you see a gang of soldiers, you pay another N50, but private motors that are also running that same one way are allowed to go free.
“Their target is commercial taxi, we want government to look into this because we are not deliberately running one way if not for the approval of the authorities that be”.
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