By: Aduwo Ayodele
Following the announcement of an end to fuel subsidy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at his inauguration, Nigerians have voiced an assortment of concerns.
These range from the suddenness of the policy to outright dissatisfaction with the development, the latter leaning towards the position of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
In a bid to avoid the expected surge in prices, queues, comprising vehicle owners and individuals with jerricans, began to appear at filling stations across the country. That, so far, has hardly prevented sales at more than twice the previous price.
At the premier university, students and staff are not excluded from the consequences of the removal. There are fears that a new hike might be on the horizon after an increase less than three months ago. More concerning are reports of extra charges for movement to short-distance routes like Sultan Bello and Lord Tedder Halls.
“I became surprised coming into campus this afternoon, Saturday, after being charged the sum of hundred naira from the main gate carpark to the Students’ Union Building (SUB),” Gabriel, a 100 level student of Faculty of Arts who boarded a tricycle lamented.
“If new charges have been redrafted, are we not supposed to be duly informed?,” asked another worried student who preferred not to be named.
Similarly, Olajuwon, a resident of Sultan Bello Hall expressed his astonishment that the tricyclist who conveyed him and two others recently to the hall demanded the sum of hundred naira each from the passengers.
He stated, “I’m surprised that the tricycle operator charged #100 naira. It is surprising. The Students’ Union should please look into it.”
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Speaking about what is assumed to be a swell in transportation rates within the University, the Chairman, Transportation Committee of the University of Ibadan Students’ Union, Daniel Ajiboye, noted in his response that the Committee has not received any complaints regarding exorbitant charges from students.
“To these complaints, I must comment that myself and my team members are currently writing our semester exams. Hence, our hands are tied to swiftly react. Furthermore, I think it’s quite obvious that the increment may be due to the sudden burst in the fuel subsidy resulting from the newly announced policy by the new president. And in all honesty, no move has been made from myself or my committee members to determine if there has been increment of any kind.”
Decisive action from the Students’ Union Transportation Committee, he noted, “may not be guaranteed because, as we always say, don’t just get extorted, give us a lead, inform us of the tag number of the driver or rider that tried to extort, so we will know how to impose appropriate sanctions.”
In a separate remark, the Chairman of Campus Cab and Transport Operators, University of Ibadan, Mr. Joseph Temitope denounced rumours of an upward review in prices to destinations within the University.
Responding to questions by Indy Press, Mr. Temitope maintained that the revised rate given on Monday, 13th March, 2023, which was approved by the Vice Chancellor, remain the official prices for commuters within the university.
“There has not been any adjustment. There has not been any sort of review since March. We are only about to meet the Students’ Union and probably the Dean of Students on it. We haven’t taken any step yet,” Mr. Temitope said.
The Chairman also noted that transport operators collecting more than the stipulated prices were indulging in an unlawful practice and may be doing so at their own peril.
“The prices are still the same. It is illegal if anyone charges than as prescribed in the bulletin. If there are going to be any changes, they must take place from the management,” he added.
He further decried the drop in profits recorded by cab, bus and tricycle operators after each trip, especially on occasions when there are few commuters returning to the university’s main entrance.