BY KHALID IDRIS DOYA, Bauchi
Residents of some states in the North West have called for direct intervention of the federal government to check the frequent hike in price of cooking gas in the country.
Speaking to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina and Kebbi states, they lamented that the increase had almost become a ‘daily affair’, hence the need for the pegging of price like was done in the case of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol).
They observed that unless something was done, efforts of government in other fronts like the fight against desertification would be derailed, adding that people were now resorting to alternative sources like firewood and charcoal.
According to them, as people rely solely on firewood and charcoal, their market will boost, thereby encouraging the felling of trees and encroachment of deserts.
Marketers of cooking gas who spoke to NAN noted that already, there was drastic reduction in sales, an indication that some of their customers had switched to other alternatives.
“Certainly, people must eat, and if so, they must cook using a source of energy. If there is decrease in those purchasing cooking gas, it cannot be because there is decrease in people eating food.
“The only plausible explanation will be that people have switched to other alternatives (firewood and charcoal) , a development that is not environment-friendly,” said Usman Aliyu, a cooking gas trader in Kaduna.
Malam Bala Abubakar, the manager of a gas plant in Katsina, said an increase in price of cooking gas in the state from the N366 per kilogramme some months ago to its current charge of N533 had resulted in reduced patronage. He said there was the need for the federal government to intervene.
Alhaji Mustapha Malami, a manager of a gas station in Birnin Kebbi, said the hike might be as a result of the inability of marketers to off-take 450,000 metric tonnes of the product.
“The price of the product has risen further to N620 per kilogramme with the popular size, 12.5kg, selling for N8,000.
“We used to sell the product N400 per kilogramme three months ago, but now it sells for N620,” he said.
Also, Malam Muhammad Lawal, a consumer of gas in Birnin Kebbi, said the cost had skyrocketed beyond the reach of even middle class people.
“Re-filling my 3kg cylinder last year was N1,500, then it shot up to N1,700 towards the end of the year, and just last month, it rose to N2,500.
“Now, this month (October) when I went back to re-fill my cylinder, I was told it had risen to N3,600. It is high time our government took urgent steps over this development to help the people,” he appealed.
Similarly, some residents of Kano metropolis appealed to the federal government to introduce price control mechanism on cooking gas to ease their sufferings.
Mrs Yasira Hamisu, a widow, said the price kept increasing by the day, appealing that government should place control measures.
“Things are not easy; I can hardly re-fill my 5kg cylinder, which now costs N3,300, as against N2,000 in the previous months,” she said.
She added that people would appreciate if government could fix price for cooking gas.
Another resident of Kano, Mr Abdulrazak Ahmed, a civil servant, lamented the continuous increase in price of cooking gas, saying the development was of concern to many Nigerians.
In Zamfara, a worker at AA Gas plant in Gusau, Umar Babangayu, said the price of cooking gas had increased by between 30 to 40 per cent.
Within Sokoto metropolis, price of cooking gas has also increased and customers are lamenting the sudden rise. (NAN)