Delta residents lament high cost of cooking gas

Amid abundant reserves, users of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) popularly known as ‘cooking gas,’ in Delta State, have lamented the rising cost of the product in recent times, saying they’ve been impoverished.

Checks by our correspondent on Thursday across the state’s commercial nerve centre, Warri revealed that a kilogramme of LPG now sells for N500 as against N200 or N250 some four months ago.

A 12.5kg cylinder of LPG, which hitherto sold between N3,200 and N3,500, has suddenly jumped to N6,500/N7,000, while 5kg that sold for N1,400 now sells for N2,600.

“Two weeks ago, my husband filled the 12.5kg for 6k, we usually use our gas for at least two months before refilling. In the month of June, we filled at 5k, while the first quarter of the year, 12.5kg was filled for 3,500,” a resident, identified as Adiri said.

Speaking in the same vein, a civil servant Betty Idialu, decried the situation, asking government to remedy the hardship households are going through.

“We’re suffering. We battle with high cost of foodstuffs. We also battle with the means to cook them. This is nothing but double tragedy. It wasn’t so some six years ago. They need to help the masses,” the mother-of-three pleaded.

Another resident, who simply preferred being identified as Success, a business woman, said she used to buy 5kg LPG at N1,400, but now it sells for N2,600, adding that the situation might drive people who had hitherto enjoy the use of the product back to fetching faggots thereby doing more damage to the forest.

Lamenting the hardship residents of oil-rich Delta State are undergoing, a business entrepreneur, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, said the government of the day must act fast before Nigerians relapse to crude means of processing their daily meals.

Onuesoke, who is also a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chieftain and former Delta State governorhip aspirant, averred that the recent increase in price of the product was outrageous, considering the current situation in the country.

“According to a report by the NLNG, Nigeria is blessed with abundant reserves of both associated and non-associated gas, estimated to be in excess of 202 trillion standard cubic feet.

“The World Factbook, a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency, stated that Nigeria ranks ninth in terms of proven natural gas reserves in the world after Algeria. It was estimated that the reserve would last for over 100 years.

“However, despite having the capacity to produce such quantum of LPG, it allocates only 350,000 metric tonnes to the Nigerian domestic market that requires about 1.2 million annually, while the rest is exported. One wonders why the NLNG cannot fully supply the domestic market with the volume it requires,” Onuesoke noted.

He recounted that while some end users, especially housewives and low-income earners, are left with no choice but to gradually adapt to the situation by squeezing out as much, most rural dwellers and those in the hinterland that rely on the product for business have been forced to abandon their gas cylinders for firewood, charcoal and sawdust in spite of the inconveniences and health hazards associated with their use.

Onuesoke, therefore, called for the full domestication of LPG, noting, “What this means is that the NLNG should give the domestic market the required 1.2 million metric tonnes and export the rest as it produces 22 million tonnes, instead of exporting the same, only for the country to import it back.”

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