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Tricyclists, Passengers Fret Over High Cost of Transport in Maiduguri, Makurdi

Tricyclists and passengers in Makurdi, Benue State, and Maiduguri, Borno State have complained about high transportation costs as they go about their daily lives following the removal of fuel subsidy. Fret

The price of fuel tripled high after President Bola Tinubu announced subsidy removal on May 29, in his inaugural speech. 

In interactions with WikkiTimes’ correspondence in Benue and Borno states capitals, the tricyclists and their passengers said the high cost of fuel is taking a toll on them and their activities.

 A Tricyclist in Makurdi, Tersoo Ukan said the fuel pump increase has negatively affected his daily income.

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“Since the subsidy removal, it has been challenging for me. Before now, I used to buy fuel for about N3,000 to work in a day but now I sometimes buy fuel for about N6,000 which has been challenging for me. It’s affecting my gain,” he told WikkiTimes.

Tersoo fears the situation, if not contained, could force him out of business. He explained that maintenance of the Keke [tricycle] and other responsibilities further depleted his earnings.

Another tricycle operator Adanu John, who spoke in hushed tones with our reporter, bemoaned the difficulty of maintaining his tricycle these past few weeks.

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“It has been a challenging moment for me in the past weeks,” he wailed. “I have not been able to change the engine oil in my Keke. Someday, I will work for a whole day and can not buy food for my family.”

“For me, It is only the government that can help us because now the number of Keke users has dropped drastically due to the cost of petrol, we don’t even see people to carry,” he added.

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A tricycle passenger, Salome Trever, averred that the increment in transport fare has affected her movement.

“If the need is not very important I prefer to stay at home, I pray and hope that the subsidy removal will help the economy of the country,” he said. “I was using N200 before but now I pay N400 from my house to get to Wurukum.”

Another passenger, Samuel Adejo, said he now treks more than he used to in the past.

The Chairman Benue State Tricyclist Association (BENTA), Igbogo Zahemen, revealed that some of their members have decided to park their tricycles and stop operation.

Zahemen said: “It has not been easy for us since the subsidy removal. You see that when you get to our park you stay longer before you see people to carry. Before now, if you stayed at a point to pick up passengers, the flow of passengers was very high but the opposite is the case at the moment.”

He explained that their members are agitating for price increments because of the current realities occasioned by the fuel hike.

“It’s unfortunate that members have begged for a price increment because most of the members have had their tricycles seized for those who do daily or weekly accounts. We hope that the government does something as soon as possible,” he added.

SITUATION THE SAME IN MAIDUGURI

Similarly, tricycle riders and passengers in Borno State capital, Maiduguri, have decried the high cost of transportation following the recent fuel hike.

In an interview with WikkiTimes, a tricycle rider, Babagana Ali said he was just working “for working sake” as he is not making sufficient profits to meet his daily needs.

Another operator, Madu Kyari groaned that the fuel increment has greatly impacted his profit margin.

A student of Borno State University, Sarah Bako, shared her experience, saying: “Previously, I used to spend only N500 for transportation to school, but now I need nearly N1,000 for transportation alone, not to mention the additional expenses for food and other necessities.”

Ibrahim Ali of the University of Maiduguri said he now treks within the campus unlike in the past when he used tricycles.

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“The rising transportation costs have made it financially challenging for me to rely on Keke as a means of transportation,” he said. 

According to Abubakar Muhammad, a resident of Maiduguri, the increasing fares following the fuel hike has deterred many passengers from using tricycles in the city.

He said that passengers “are opting for the buses provided by the Borno State Government which utilise diesel and charge a lower fare of only N50 per head.”

Another passenger who patronises the buses explained that he often waits for government buses “because these buses can accommodate more than 50 people. In situations where there are no available seats, passengers are forced to stand.”

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