The incessant hike in the price of kerosene nationwide has brought untold hardship to consumers.
Investigation by Consumer Watch revealed that the product is being used by the poor in society.
A visit to some petrol filling stations in Surulere, Lagos operated by independent marketers, revealed that a litre of kerosene sells for N310 while roadside sellers sell between N350 and N400 per litre.
Some women, who were spotted in some filling stations buying kerosene decried the persistent increase in the price of the product and added that it had increased beyond everyone’s imagination.
They however, appealed to government to come to their aid by finding a lasting solution to the persistent increase.
A home maker, Blessing Duru who spoke on the issue described the continuous increase in the price of the petroleum product as wickedness against the poor masses.
“The rich do not use kerosene, it is the poor and the government is not worried about it. The thought of buying kerosene each time l want to cook makes me feel sad, because l cannot imagine spending N350 worth of kerosene on daily basis; it is worrisome considering the present economic crunch,” she said.
In addition, she wondered how the poor who were managing to survive the present economic hardship will spend more in buying kerosene than the rich who cook with gas.
Speaking further, she said, “It is only in this country that such thing can happen; kerosene should be the cheapest among the petroleum products, but the reverse is the case here. This is an indication that the government is insensitive to the plight of the poor. Over three years now, the price of kerosene has remained high and the users have been lamenting, appealing to government to come to their aid, but nothing positive has been done about it. In fact, the price of kerosene is increasing almost on a daily basis. The road sellers are not helping matters, they can wake up one morning, on their own, they will increase the price of the product and the helpless users will have to pay through their nose,” Duru said.
An educationist, Benedict Uzoma explained that the high price of kerosene prompted her to use cooking gas which she does not like because of the risk associated with it.
“l do not like cooking with gas because of my children, they are still small and may not know how to operate cooking gas, but because of the continuous increase in the price of kerosene, l resorted to cooking with gas,” Uzoma said.
Another home maker who preferred to be addressed as Susan described the situation as unbearable and added that she cannot afford to spend such amount only on kerosene.
“If l buy 5 liters of kerosene for N3.000 that will not last up to a week, how much food stuff will l buy that will be enough for a family of five. Since the price of kerosene remains high, l decided to go for charcoal, at least with N500, l am sure of cooking for my family for a week.
“Really, cooking with charcoal is not convenient because of the filthiness associated with it, but l cannot afford kerosene or gas; so, l had to go for the one affordable,” she added.
One of the independent marketers who does not want his name mentioned on the print affirmed that the persistent increase of the product was due to increase in the price of the product by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and added that they have to sell according to how they buy so as to remain in business.
An analyst, Chukwudi Okpala bemoaned the present economic situation in the country, saying that the prices of all the consumer goods and services have gone up.
“I do not know where we are going in this country, the situation of things has gone out of hands and the government is insensitive to the plights of the poor masses. The level of insecurity has increased. Something needs to be done urgently to save the nation from collapsing,’’ he added.