Some residents of Awka and its environs on Saturday called on the Federal Government to address the current hike in the price of cooking gas to ease the suffering of the people.
A NAN correspondent who visited some gas plants in Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi, reports that the price of gas had increased by more than 50 per cent.
NAN’s check also showed that a 12.5kg cylinder which was sold for N6,800 in September, had increased to N7,750 or N7, 800 depending on locations.
It was also observed that a 6kg cylinder, that was previously sold for N2,900, had gone up to N3,800 in less than a month.
A manager of one of the gas plants in Awka, who pleaded anonymity told NAN that the hike was as a result of the current devaluation of the naira.
“You know gas is refined and imported into the country, therefore, the price is dominated by the dollar. So, the more the naira is devalued, the higher the prices will continue to rise,” he said.
Some consumers, who spoke to NAN separately, blamed the government for its inability to control the price of cooking gas in the open market.
A resident of a gas plant in Awka, who identified himself as Mr Smart Okongi, said that the continued rise in the price of cooking gas was alarming adding that the increase was being felt by many Nigerians.
“As a civil servant with no increment in salary, it is now becoming very difficult keeping up with the everyday rise in prices of foodstuff, transportation, rent and now cooking gas.
“This development is sad because our country is endowed with natural gas. I also blame the Federal government for its inability to control the price in the open market.
“I appeal to the government to reduce or have a fixed price for cooking gas to alleviate our sufferings,” Okongi said.
Another resident, Mrs Helen Aniaso, a caterer, said that the daily rise in the price of cooking gas was impacting her business negatively.
“It is frustrating because for every time we go to refill, the price increases. It is affecting my business in terms of productivity and profit.
“We have increased the prices of the food we sell just to meet up, but we are losing customers because many of them can not afford to pay.
“It is not also cheaper resorting to kerosene, charcoal, or firewoods because their prices too have increased. The government should come to our aid before our sources of livelihood collapse, ” she said.
Mr Adolphus Egwu, a businessman in Onitsha, expressed fears that the price of a 12.5kg gas cylinder might increase to N10,000 by December if the government does not act quickly.
“This practice of gas sellers is highly unfair to users, considering the economic situation in the country. Because of this hike, a plate of food rose from about N400 or N500 to N800 or N1,000?
“I appeal to the relevant regulatory agencies, to halt this practice by monitoring and checking the excesses of the sellers,” he said.