IT’S a weekend of more pains and anguish – trademarks of the ongoing harsh fuel crisis in Delta State – as prices of petrol, where found, remained hiked.
Commuters, most hit being Christmas festive season, were, on Saturday, milling around roadsides and motor parks in search of how to reach their destinations to felicitate with their families.
At Warri-Benin expressway from Effurun roundabout, stranded commuters littered the roadsides and Parks, with few vehicles plying the route.
Most fuel stations across Warri and environs still sell petrol for N220 to 250 for a litre, but at night to black marketers in order to garner more gains.
At Agbaro, a suburb of Warri, few fuel stations sold a litre for N170, while black marketers sell a litre for between N310 and N350.
Checks by Nigerian Tribune revealed much dishearteningly the number of passengers at various bus stops, as quite alarming.
Some commuters, who spoke to Sunday Tribune on Saturday, lamented the hike in transport fares which has gone double and triple in some cases within the state and inter-state.
Shuttle buses and tricycle operators in Warri metropolis get fuel sustenance more from black marketers, as the burden is transferred to commuters.
A student of the Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, Vivian Awaruke, decried the situation.
“Before, from Warri to Abraka, I usually pay N300 for transport, now it’s N350 charge by the Delta State Urban Transit Scheme.
“And often time since the current fuel crisis began, there is no bus to convey travellers to their destinations.
“Some people prefer to use the road side motors or seek a lift to save some money,” she said.
Meanwhile, travellers at the Osubi Airstrip, were sent stranded as most flight schedules were cancelled due to bad weather and not lack of aviation fuel.
Some few travellers at the airstrip were seen waiting perhaps against hope that the weather would be declared safe to fly.
Speaking with a management personnel of the airstrip, who refused to disclose his identity, he said, the turnout of passengers was, however, quite normal.
He added that the aviation fuel is not affected by the current petrol scarcity, stressing that the only challenge faced was bad weather which has affected some of the scheduled flight sometimes.
“For now, there is no fuel challenge for that of flight, because the aviation fuel is affordable, the only challenge is bad weather condition, which led to the cancellation of some trips, and some travellers would use the land transport.
“If the weather is good, then flight would be successful.”
The official, however, bemoaned the fact that the taxi service to and from the airstrip has been badly affected by the fuel crisis as most travellers are finding it difficult to find their way to the airstrip.
According to him, personnel working at the airstrip are also affected by the fuel situation, “because we need to fuel our vehicles, so it’s really terrible, the taxi service here is low, we are affected by the fuel hike.”
Meanwhile, traders at various markets in Warri, as of Saturday, were still hoping for patronage, amid the hike in pump price.
Both traders and consumers frowned on the recent jack up in prices of foodstuffs as majority of them said no patronage compared to that of previous years.
A trader, Mrs Amuke Grace, who sells bags of rice at the popular Igbudu market in Warri, said: “no customers, people nor dey buy plenty as before; I nor understand this December.
“Yesterday, I sell only two bags of rice; before last year, market dey move, now see fuel price hike, people to travel self dey cost, everything dey affect business too,” she lamented.