As the removal of fuel subsidy continued to worsen the living conditions of Nigerians, many residents of the Bauchi metropolis have resorted to trekking to cope with its multidimensional effects on their daily lives.
President Bola Tinubu announced the removal of subsidies on petroleum products during his inaugural speech on May 29. Since then, the pump price of petrol hiked across the country, thus becoming a luxury for a privileged few.
Following Tinubu’s declaration, petrol sales rose to N550 per litre in Bauchi. However, it previously sold between N200 to N220 per litre. This development compounded the transportation woes of Bauchi residents and indeed other Nigerians.
Intra-city transport fares increased geometrically. However, the immediate implication of this unanticipated change is that citizens have to expend a double amount on transportation.
As a way of mitigating the effect of fuel subsidy removal, many inhabitants of the Bauchi metropolis park their motorcycles and cars previously used to meet personal and family shuttling demands. Instead, turn to trekking to meet the same ends.
Similarly, pedestrian paths on major roads within the ancient Bauchi city are busy as people trek to their destinations.
On the other hand, people buy shoes made from tyer for reasons of durability and affordability thereby bringing fortunes to shoe shiners who are often taken to be part of the lowest income earners in northern cultures.
Mukhtar Ibrahim, a resident of Bauchi told our correspondent that because of his frequent trekking since the removal of the fuel subsidy, he requires shoe cobblers to help maintain his shoes.
To him, shoe shiners are irrelevant to his scheme of life until the effect of subsidy removal whips him. “Before this time, I neither regard nor do respects shoe shiners. Because I don’t need their services and they appeared to be a nuisance,” he said.
Mukhtar treks about 7km from Fadaman-Mada area to Railway, to run his daily business. “I only patronize Okada while returning home,” he said.
He said as a glaring sign of frequent walking, his shoes easily worn out. This forces him to seek the services of a shoe cobbler to mend it.
Samson Karo, a corps member from Kaduna State serving in Bauchi, said subsidy removal compels him to walk both short and long distances, adding this new phenomenon usually affects the duration and quality of his foot wears.
“We suffer a lot. My shoes are showing signs of tears because I trek to my place of primary assignment daily,” he told our reporter.
Musa Muhammad, a shoe cobbler said, “We make brisk business now because more people patronize us than before. People buy and bring shoes for repair since the announcement of subsidy removal by the Federal Government.”
He added: “A lot of people have reduced the use of vehicles which consume fuel and resort to trekking thus the need to mend shoes in other to keep them in good shape.
“Similarly okada fares within the metropolis skyrocketed leaving low-income earners inhabitants with no option than to trek long distances unlike they do before.”
Muhammad Duna, a leader of shoe shiners operating in Wunti Market Bauchi, told our reporter that their newfound business fortunes translate to a better life for their families.