The Impact of Fuel Subsidy Removal on UI Students

When weighing intentions and manner of approach, the latter is more pivotal as regards the production of desired results. The latter is so important that even if one does not have a perfect idea, the presentation has a way of eclipsing the shallowness of the idea. Based on this principle, before one gets to present a subject matter before an audience, he or she is required to first do a thorough background check on the nature of the audience so as to get an insight as to how to make his or her presentation because as stated earlier, the nature of the presentation is the key to producing good results.

In Nigeria, one of the things that has slowly killed the economy of the nation has been the existence of fuel subsidies but ironically, many people see it as our savior. In my own opinion, fuel subsidy was an organized crime in the sense that many people used it to enrich themselves, thus plunging the economy into a very deep hole. Therefore, in reality, it is not an issue of debate as to whether fuel subsidy removal was a good move or not but the manner in which it was removed.

When dealing with a drug addict, immediate or abrupt stoppage of the intake of drugs can lead to the death of the patient. This is why the withdrawal method is employed when rehabilitating drug addicts. Sadly, our country, Nigeria can be likened to a drug addict, in that there are a lot of things that are not going on well in various sectors of the economy. The damage caused over the years has been so severe that every attempted rehabilitation, should be handled with utmost care and sensitivity. However, in the case of fuel subsidy, the reverse was the case. We witnessed an abrupt turnaround of events as it just came as a sudden announcement. The sudden nature of this announcement automatically caused antagonistic behavior towards this supposed good deed to rear its ugly head. This antagonistic behavior unconsciously spread like wildfire across the hearts of many citizens, including those who were once ardent advocates for fuel subsidy removal, causing a lot of chaos and panic amongst many, with UITES not excluded.

The removal of the fuel subsidy came as a huge shock to the students of the premier University in Nigeria, The University of Ibadan because considering all factors, their lives were just about to change, and adaptation to this new life, was going to be a very difficult one. The hard realities that stared them in the face were the imminent but unavoidable increment in the price of transportation. When these suspected events kicked in, the lifestyle of UI students had no other option than to change, as they had to adapt to the current situation.

As regards transportation, many students reverted from the frequent use of the tricycle (Maruwa or Keke) to the use of their foot. This was done because they were trying their very best to manage costs. At this time, those who have had issues with trekking in the sun had no other option than to live with it by either brushing it aside or purchasing an umbrella to provide shade and protection from the sun.

X-raying these things, one, on the surface of it, will think that it’s nothing much but taking a closer look, we’ll see that there’s more to it. In Nigerian universities today, it’s known that most students are the ones responsible for providing for their day-to-day needs. This is so due to their parents being deceased or the paucity of their parent’s finances. This increment in the price of things springs up a deep sense of worry in the minds of these students. In simple terms, this leads to a considerable amount of psychological damage caused to these students. These psychological effects could cause them to intensify their urge to find more money, which entails working extra hours and this in turn, can cause their academics to suffer. So, a mixture of poor results, lack of adequate sleep, and working extra hours could all culminate in depression and in extreme cases, suicide.

With this in mind, it is therefore extremely important that in the near future, the government should try their best to ensure that they put measures in place that will make the implementation of very definitive policies such as this palatable to all so as to avoid a scenario where devastating outcomes springs up from good intentions.

These are all words and to further examine the effects of the fuel subsidy removal on students of the University of Ibadan, we asked them directly. Among our respondents are a student leader and an entrepreneur.

Interviewer: What is the current fuel pump price in your area now?
R: ₦617
But I’ve heard that some places can sell up to ₦680

M: Was #500 #520 #530/40 thereabouts. But things recently changed and it’s now N580 or N630, within that range sha.
IO: it is about N580 per liter
L: it is about N617 per liter

What was your first reaction to the news on the fuel subsidy removal?
R: It wasn’t exactly shocking, as the three most prominent candidates in the past presidential election hinted at some form of subsidy removal.
The speed with which it was removed though, and the crazy price spikes that came by as a result though, were shocking.

M: I wasn’t too surprised, we’ve been moving in this direction for a while.
IO: I couldn’t process it well because I was preparing for an exam. However, I was very shocked when I had to buy fuel a couple of weeks later. I paid more than double the previous price to get the same amount of fuel.
L: I was not too surprised

Has this affected you as a student in any way?
R: Well … Moving around is now more expensive.
There’s now a 100% increase in fares from UI Gate to Anatomy… An eleven minutes walk on a good day, with the right shortcuts.
This has translated to faster depletion of my monthly budget, meaning I have to take on extra gigs to offset that…meaning, less time for studies.

M: I am currently on break but when I had to travel back home I spent double what I’d normally spend. We don’t really have to use the generator here too cause there’s good power supply.
IO: Well, I have to spend way more on fuel and other things. Everything is really expensive now.
L: Who hasn’t been affected?????
There is crazy inflation rn. The cost
of goods and services has gone up. I traveled far recently. I spent 30k on transport fare for what I would have ordinarily spent #15k for. That’s just one example and there are so many others.

What measures or adjustments have you had to take to properly adjust to the change?

R: I’ve had to limit a lot of my movements for the time being, and walking a bit more too.
You know, getting that good cardio in.

IO: I might have to work more to earn enough to take care of myself. Hopefully, this wouldn’t affect my study time.

Are you pro-fuel subsidy removal or anti-fuel subsidy removal?

R: I believe the subsidy removal is not the immediate fix many think it’d be. Pro-fuel subsidy removal stans might claim it does free up more resources for other sectors of the economy, but in a country where wealth distribution is lopsided, the recovered funds from subsidy removal will only disappear like the trillion others in the past. A staggered removal might have helped cushion the effects on the masses, but we currently have a government that believes dispensing palliatives is the way. Anti-subsidy removal stan here.
L: Yes, I am pro-subsidy removal. Could the execution have been done a little bit better to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians? I think so

I am aware that as a student leader, you have to attend meetings outside the UI campus. How is that going for you? Are there any measures being put in place to ease the changes?
R: The subsidy removal is a fairly recent development and measures to ease the changes have not quite been implemented yet. Though the bodies I’m a part of have been exploring virtual options and that has helped reduce the strain of transportation.

There is speculation going on that the number of patients visiting the hospital has also reduced due to this inflation. what do you have to say about that?
L: I believe so. The place is not as crowded as it used to be. Transport is the least of their problems. Will someone who can’t pay transport fare have money to pay for a CT Scan??????????‍♂️

The subsidy on fuel has long been removed. Nigerians still struggle to adjust to this new policy. While we sit and discuss the benefits or disadvantages of this policy, we hope that the funds saved from this policy are diverted into means that will be advantageous to the average Nigerian. How has the fuel subsidy removal affected you thus far?

Nmesomachi Okoronkwo
Afeezah Wojuade

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