Commercial tricyclists (Keke NAPEP) and taxi drivers have continued to receive petrol palliative from philanthropists to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal in Borno State.
With the introduction of 70 metro buses, which charge passengers N50 per drop in Maiduguri metropolis, commercial tricycle riders have continued to struggle to stay in business due to a crash in transportation fare in Maiduguri and environs through the provision of the buses by the State government.
However, some philanthropists have intervened by contracting filling stations in the State capital city to sell petrol at N430 per litre as palliative against the official price of N637 in Borno State.
Ibrahim Jibrin Mohammed, who operated some filling stations in the State, said he was inspired by the gesture of the First Lady, Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, who have been supporting the poor and disaster victims across the country.
“What you are seeing here is just a flag-off of the petrol palliative to cushion the effect of subsidy removal, and we will replicate the same in six states of the country’s geopolitical zones.
“We will also replicate a whole day sale in Kano for the North-West, Abuja for the North-Central, Lagos for South-West, Port Harcourt for the South-South, and Enugu for the South-East,” he said.
The palliative intervention, which took place at two petrol stations, witnessed an unprecedented number of motorists and tricycle operators scrambling to get the fuel at subsidised price.
In one of the filling stations at Damboa Road, the representative of the philanthropist, Abba Kaka Hassan, said the intervention was conceived to reinforce what the government was doing to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses.
The government of President Tinubu had distributed palliatives to states, while the state government intervened in many ways, that’s why he insisted on supporting the transporters to keep them in business and ease the cost for commuters,” he stated.
A Keke NAPEP operator, Yakub Bukar, who benefited from the fuel palliative, said the support was apt and timely at this crucial period when citizens were facing the brunt of the fuel subsidy removal.
“To be sincere, this is a very good effort from this good Samaritan, and if this will continue, it will go a long way in ameliorating the suffering of the masses
“I appeal to other well-to-do individuals to emulate the gesture of this good Samaritan for betterment of the society,” he said.
Another beneficiary, Ashaya Aklahyel, said the intervention has provided him with relief because most of the time they were recording losses after closing from work.
“You will wake up in the morning and criss-cross the town without getting a single passenger. And the fuel you burnt is counted as loss, so by the time you retire home, one may not even have money to feed his family.
“So, this is the type of intervention we need to help us stay afloat, we don’t want the government to give us anything if the fuel will be subsidised,” he said.
The State Secretary of Keke NAPEP Participants/Riders Development Association, Isyaka Ado, commended the philanthropists for the petroleum palliative, saying it will go a long way in reducing the hardship that the tricyclists were facing in the state.
“Many riders could not cope with the increase in price, so they were forced out of the business, but with philanthropists like Ibrahim Jibrin, they regained their lost means of livelihood.
“I also want to appeal to the well-to-do in the society to replicate what he did to keep our members in the business and this will trickle down to commuters who may not even have the transport fare. Because, even the riders do help and are willing to continue to help,” he added.