By Mike Adeyemi
Residents of Kwara State on Tuesday have cried out to President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to save them from the incessant high cost of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), otherwise called cooking gas, in the country, urging him to take drastic measures to crash the price of the product in the interest of the masses.
The residents in Ilorin metropolis during a chat with our reporter lamented that the cost of the product has risen beyond their reach, urging the President, who doubles as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, to take urgent steps to make it as affordable as it once were if he loves poor Nigerians as he claims.
Recall that earlier this month, marketers of LPG expressed concerns over the supply shortage and persistent increase in the price of cooking gas and cylinders in the country.
The marketers had warned that the 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas, which then sold at between N7,500 and N8,000 could rise to N10,000 by December if the government fails to address the crisis.
Executive secretary of the National Association of LPG Marketers, Mr. Bassey Essien, who gave the warning, blamed the hike in the price of the product on the recently introduced import charges and Value Added Tax (VAT) by the Federal Government, saying, “the price of cooking gas may as well reach N10,000 for a 12.5kg cylinder.”
A trader, Bimpe Ojo who lived in Tanke said the product has become a luxury in the area.
“I think the government intervention on the hike in prices of gas is necessary. Here, it is 700 per kg and the marketers are threatening that the prices would still go up.
“In the past, I used to fill the gas up, but now, I just go there and tell them to sell N3,000 worth of gas, because I can’t kill myself.
“A lot of people have retired their cylinders and started using coal to cook but that one is even becoming expensive. I am fed up,” she lamented.
For Usman Ibrahim, a teacher, said a 12.5kg cylinder retails for between N8,500 and N9, 000, saying the situation was unbearable.
“Rent, food, school fees are all going up everyday. The cost of living is getting out of hand. I bought it at N7, 500 just last month, and it has gone up by N1, 000 in less than a month.
“The dealers are adding money every other day. This is not sustainable for us. Early this year, this same cylinder was less than N4, 000; today it is more than double the price. Only God knows how much we would buy it towards Christmas when gas is usually scarce,” Ibrahim stressed.
According to Alice Chukwu, a cool spot operator at stadium road, “two weeks ago, I bought my 12.5kg for N7,200; the same day by evening it had become N7,500.
“It is really sad, which way is the country going? The cost of practically everything you need for survival is on the increase. The country is becoming unbearable for the masses,” she lamented.
Azeez Aluko, a resident in Osere Area of Ilorin west local government of Kwara State also said berates the incessant hike in the prices of cooking gas in country, urging the government to intervene in the matter.
“A kilogramme of gas, which used to cost N300, now goes for N700. This is getting unbearable for us.
“I wonder what would happen as we approach the festive season. I just bought gas yesterday at N8,200 for 12.5kg,” he added.
A resident, Kabir Yahaya of Mandate Estate, Ilorin metropolis, said the hike in the price of the product has taken a heavy toll on his life as an average income earner.
Yahaya said he had been using the product for over a decade now due to its affordability and accessibility but could no longer afford it now.
It was the same tales of lamentation in Obbo Road, where a woman, Yetunde Ajayi lamented that due to the daily rise in the price of cooking, she has resorted to the use of firewood and charcoal to cook.
But she lamented that even charcoal and firewood were gradually getting out of hand.
A visit to some of the gas refilling plants in Ilorin the state capital revealed that the sale of cooking gas has reduced drastically as customers now patronise those selling kerosene.
Our medium checks revealed that a kilogramme of cooking gas, which was sold at N360 in October last year was sold at N720 as at yesterday.
This means that a three-kilogramme gas cylinder which was refilled at between N1, 080 to N1,180 now goes for between N2,700 to N3,000, while 12.5kg normally which was refilled at N4,500 now costs between N8,500 and N9,000.
National Pilot had earlier reported that number of residents in the state have resorted to using of stove and charcoal as an alternative to cooking gas due to the new price hike.