Students at the Federal University Oye Ekiti, FUOYE, particularly those returning home for the festive season have cried out over the unexpected increase in transport fares by transport operators in Oye Ekiti.
It was gathered that the transport fare increased last week owing to the 100 percent increment in Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol. However, when this reporter visited the park (UBA park) in Oye Ekiti on Saturday to observe the movement of the people, it was learned that the sudden upsurge in transport fares has drastically affected the number of buses and students in the motor parks as students were left stranded in the park.
“We have been staying here for the past one hour. There is no bus available here. The people here asked us to wait for the drivers to come,” Adeola Afolayan, a student of the Federal University Oye Ekiti lamented.
Also, another student who identified herself simply as Cynthia expressed outrage over the lack of empathy of the transporters. She alleged that the drivers intentionally increased the transport fare under the guise of a hike in the price of fuel.
“This is inhumane. The drivers here in Oye are fond of increasing transport fares. Before anything happens, they will be using fuel as an excuse. Is it only them that are facing a hike in fuel prices? This is exactly how one Okada rider carried me from uba to Falex and wanted to collect N400 from me. I gave him N500, and he gave me N100 change.
“I looked him in the eye and insulted him. This is just pure wickedness. I asked him if he doesn’t have any children at home; these people should just pity us. When I was coming home from Ibadan, the transport fare was N2,500 now it’s N4,000. They are just increasing the fee anyhow, and now we have been waiting here since morning and the people here keep telling us that we should wait. If I had taken a cab to Ado, I would have seen a bus home,” she added.
Babatunde Sunday, a 300l student said, “We cannot just push all the blame on the drivers. It is the economic situation of the country that keeps worsening the matter. This is what we face every year during the festive period, there is always a high rise in fuel, some of the drivers are even buying a liter of fuel at N500, so it is normal they increase the t-fare to make a profit. The same way we find this difficult is the same way they are not comfortable with the price, but they have no choice. They have families too”, Sunday added.
Meanwhile, there have been rumors that the transport fare to Lagos and Ibadan has increased by 100 percent. Reacting to this, a motorist who preferred not to have his name on print debunked the rumor, saying the transport fare remained N5000 while another motorist who identified himself as Omowale affirmed that the price had shot up by 80 percent.
“As of yesterday (Friday) and this morning (Saturday), the transport fare to Lagos was N9,000. I told some of the students to stay in school and spend the 9,000 naira for their well-being instead of rushing home for Christmas. The transport fare back to school may also be high. They should stay in school and enjoy themselves.”
Similarly, Yekini Fatima, a 400l student of Biochemistry affirmed that the transport fare is N9, 000.
She said: “I got there by 5 am this morning (Saturday). On getting to the park, the driver said the fare was N5,000 but when he saw my loads, he said I will pay an additional fee of N4,000. The fare exceeded my budget. I budgeted N6,000 for the fare so I went back to my hostel,” Fatima said.
Also reacting is a 200l student of Library and Information Science, Popoola Funmilayo who said she paid N5,000 for her trip to Lagos which was also confirmed by a 200l student of Linguistics, Adeleke Gloria.
“The T-fare from Oye to Lagos was 5k as of last Tuesday that I traveled. Though fuel wasn’t scarce but was expensive, the motorist had no choice but to buy; this made them carry passengers 4 on a seat instead of the usual 3 passengers on a seat”
Also, Obidapo Damilola, a 400l student said the t-fare was N5000 and the load fee was N1000. She said: “I traveled last week Tuesday; the t-fare was 5k and 1k for loads because my load was much”.
Likewise, a 100l student of Mass Communication, Temiloluwa said, “I am going home (Lagos) on Wednesday, and I’ve confirmed it from a friend who just traveled, she said the t-fare is N5k. I am very worried and that is why I must leave Oye unfailingly on Wednesday. The t-fare is going to increase as Christmas approaches.”
When this reporter visited the school junction, unlike the UBA park, there were sufficient means of transportation for the students. The driver conveying students to Osogbo said, “the t-fare to Osogbo is N3,000 if you don’t have a load but if you do, the price depends on your load”. Also, the driver going to Akure said, “The fare can be N2,500, it can be N3,000. You can come here tomorrow and be lucky to get the t-fare at a cheaper price, and you may get here, and the price would have increased”. However, he maintained that the price is N3000 without loads.
While speaking with this reporter, a 200l student of Mass Communication, Eniola Opanoja who traveled home on Friday said: “I was told there’s a car going to Ife at the school junction, so I got there and it was N4,000, I paid N4k, people going to Ibadan paid N4k as well because the drivers said they won’t let him pick up passengers from the park where he will be dropping me because it’s another park in Ife, so he said I will pay N4k. I eventually paid N4k.
“The reason I paid the N4k is that if I should get a cab going to Ado, Oye to Ado now is N700. It used to be N300, N400 but it’s now N700.”
Also, Toheeb Badmus who traveled on Saturday decried the hike in t-fare, noting that it is not affordable for the students.
“The sudden hike in T-fare it’s not a big deal anymore, but I’m not happy when heard that the T-fare from Oye to Osogbo is 3k, If I’m able to afford such money, what about others that might not even afford it. This is part of the way we are affecting ourselves as citizens of Nigeria. I heard the increase in T-fare is a result of an increase in the price of fuel”.
Omotosho Precious expressed fears that the t-fare to Ibadan might have risen beyond her expectations. She disclosed that “I am worried the price will go up soon. If it is 8k I will just stay in Oye for Christmas, but I confirmed yesterday (Friday) that it was #4000. We cannot blame the drivers, it’s the increment in the price of fuel that causes the high in tfare. I think an increment in the price of fuel will determine the transport fare. It’s until the liter of fuel returns back to how it was”.
Meanwhile, a 300l student of Business Administration, Omoyele Folasade said she paid N3000 for her trip to Ibadan.
“I didn’t negotiate with the drivers. When I got there, the driver called the t-fare N3000. I had no load so I don’t know if the price is the same as those who have loads,” she said.
Similarly, a 300l English language and English studies student, Ademola Jesutofunmi who affirmed she would travel on Wednesday, condemned the “unjustifiable” act of the drivers.
“We need to stage a protest. Those drivers are thieves, and they are intentionally extorting us just because they know we don’t have a choice. We need to protest against this injustice put forward to us. How can they call t-fare from Oye to Osun N3000 when it’s not as if I’m traveling to Lagos.
“Even if there is an increase in the price of fuel, it doesn’t justify their action. This is not so good. They are aware we can’t stay back at home because of the price. They know we don’t have a choice. We have to stage a protest”, she lamented.
Sulaimon Semiat also expressed worries over the sudden hike in transport fare.
“I’m very worried now because going back to my hometown, Osogbo is N3,000 and before now, it was N2,000 and the driver said the N3,000 is without my load so that means if I have a load, it will be like N4,000, N5,000.
“I think the Student Union Government can help us by negotiating with the drivers to reduce the t-fare. Even if they are buying 1 liter of fuel for N350, N400, and N500, at least they won’t get the profit from just one person. They should please be considerate.
“This similar situation happened when I was in 100l in December. The transport director, Kehinde Ige popularly known as Kentro negotiated with the drivers and even the school released some buses which conveyed us back home”.
This was also confirmed by a 400l student of Microbiology, Alabi Olusola who affirmed that she was a beneficiary. “The then Students’ Union Government under the leadership of Alabi John Sunday, also known as Respect, negotiated with the drivers. There were even enough buses which the school management gave out to some drivers just for them to convey students down conveniently to their destination without much price, which helped students, and I was a beneficiary.”
When contacted, the incumbent president of the Social Sciences Faculty, Ajayi Olamide Martins confirmed the development and avowed that he would speak to the current SUG president, Salaudeen Teslim on the spiral hike in t-fare.
He said: “I will put a call through to Teslim and explain to him, he has to come to our rescue at this particular moment.
While speaking on behalf of the 400l students who may want to pack their loads home, Martins said: ” As some of us that our house rent has expired, we need to pack our things or if he (Teslim) can have some people to pack our things or leave it in the hostel if their house rent has not expired.
“In case I call Teslim and nothing is forthcoming, the advice will be for us (the 400l students) to just keep our luggage, for now, then when we are back for our clearance in January, we can pack all our things because it is likely the fuel will have reduced a bit”.