As the endless snake-like queue for petrol continues to increase, reality is dawning on Nigerians that their country might just be one of the hardest places to live in the world.
A quick tour of the different neighborhoods in different states across the country would reveal the stark reality of the hardship being experienced by millions of Nigerians as a result of the scarcity of 3 essential items.
The general consensus by citizens on the streets is that- while the formerly epileptic power supply now appears to be comatose and water supply is now as rare and expensive as vintage wine, the nationwide scarcity of petrol has now added to the unnecessary sufferings of the people.
A businessman, Ajayi Semilore, who spoke to YNaija while forlornly queuing for fuel at a filling station in Surulere, expressed his frustration at the scarcity of fuel.
Semilore’s said it was particularly depressing that in spite of the government’s failure to provide constant electricity for Nigerians, fuel has also become hard to get.
“A lot of Nigerians have generators so even if the government is irresponsible enough to not give us light, at least give us fuel so we can give ourselves power.”
Ajayi stated that Nigerians are only suffering because of the ineffectiveness of the new government.
In the same vein, many Nigerians have described the debilitating claws of scarcity which gripped foreign exchange, power, water and now fuel as the ‘hand of change’ while bearing in mind that a certain minister predicted there might be food scarcity come 2019.
Simon, a bus driver, said the fuel scarcity has affected his business adversely as a trip that would have taken him one hour or less to make, now takes him more time due to the heavy traffic gridlock caused by the long queues at fuel stations.
“Where I suppose to go in one hour time, go take me two hours because of hold up,” he said.
“The situation dey make us dey drive rough but wetin you expect? Everybody is driving rough and hurry because they want to quickly get to where they are going after hold up,” he continued.
He however, stated that the comatose nature of electricity is not a bother for him and his family as they were already used to sleeping in blistering heat and to the annoying songs of mosquitoes.
“Light is not (a) problem for me. I’m used to heat and mosquitoes already… so me and my family don’t worry about light.”
Adeola, who lives in Oshodi is a tad lucky to have borehole water so he doesn’t feel the erratic nature of water supply but still suffers acutely from the lack of power and fuel scarcity.
He spoke to YNaija after spending over 4 hours on a queue to buy fuel- only to be told that the station was closed for the day.
“Last time I saw light was 5 days ago. I’ve been sleeping in darkness and heat. I’ve been on the queue since for more than 4 hours without seeing petrol.”
Adeola however, declined to blame anybody for the current state of the nation and the suffering of the masses.
“Its nobody’s fault, not Jonathan, not Buhari because if the country must be good, it must first of all be bad. Even under Jonathan, things might have gotten better if we did not vote him out.”
Adeola’s hope for the country is certainly worthy of emulation.
He, in the midst of frustration and hardship, decided to hold on to hope for the sake of his sanity.
Motorists queuing for fuel in Surulere, Lagos
An accountant, who works with a government ministry, also does not blame the government.
He revealed that the government was not the sole cause of the electricity and fuel problems in the country.
He stated that it was corrupt individuals in government agencies that are to blame for the hardship.
He stated that: “Yesterday, it took me more than 5 hours to buy 20 liters of fuel at N6,000. Five whole hours and at such unforgivable price. I still have to pack my car at home because of the traffic and the cost of petrol. I can do away with cars but there are certain other things like water, electricity, school runs, that are necessary and I can’t shy away from.”
“Even more worrisome is what is happening in our hospitals. I was at LUTH the same yesterday evening, visiting a friend at the male orthopedic ward, what I saw was heartbreaking. Medical practitioners have nothing to work with. I saw nurses working with torchlight because there’s no light, some patients were even being told to come back next week for their surgeries and treatment.”
“These people are in pains, some don’t even have money to pay the first installment for their treatment yet they are not getting the needed treatment and are told to come the next week –thereby making them pay extra. I can’t even imagine what will happen to patients in special wards. They will suffer for issues that are not their fault.”
Nigerians queuing at a filling station with their generators
The worst part of the scarcity is that- Nigerians who want fuel in their generators have to carry the generators to the filling stations.
The filling stations, in a bid to deter the sale of the precious petrol in the black market do not sell to anyone in kegs.
For people who want to fill up their generators tanks, they have no choice but to carry the generators to the filling stations.
Kingsley in Surulere, weighing-in on the situation, said: “They are not selling in kegs. You must your carry generator there. Even if your generator is at Alaba market, you will use your motor to bring it here and buy fuel.”
He noted that some people resumed at the filling station as early as 5am.
“Some people have been at the filling stations since 5am and black market is selling for N1,000 for 5 litres even though the filling stations sell at normal price on N86 per litre,” he said.
There is no telling when the scarcity of fuel or power would end, no precise prediction of the end of this scourge and Nigerians are really suffering.
Chukwu blames the current government of President Muhammadu Buhari for the unprecedented hardship while expressing his disappointment in the government and its failure to alleviate the sufferings of the masses.
He said “This is the result of change. No light, No water for more than 2 days now. The heat in my house can kill someone. Even the generator that I still manage, I have to turn it off because there’s no fuel at all.”
“They told us to vote for change, and we did. This is the change now. They said Jonathan was president and did not do well but Buhari came and destroyed everything,” an angry Chukwu declared.
He also lamented the unavailability of water in his area stating that despite paying his water rates regularly, he still doesn’t have water and he has to spend money to buy water from peddlers.
“I buy water from aboki daily like N100 for 1 drum,” he said.
“Everyday.” he blurted, bitterly.