Kerosene scarcity: Hard times are here
From Bamigbola Gbolaguunte, Akure
Following the scarcity of kerosene in many parts of Ondo State, women and others engage in both commercial and domestic cooking have resorted to the use of charcoal and sawdust for cooking.
Survey by Daily Sun in Akure, the state capital and its neighbouring towns including Ilaramokin, Igbaraoke, Sasa and Idanre revealed that charcoal and sawdust are now used for cooking and other domestic activities.
It was gathered that many homes which would have used electric stove resorted to the use of charcoal and sawdust due to lack of power supply, as the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) has cut off electricity supply to many parts of the state.
This situation has made the price of charcoal to go up in many parts of the state, especially Akure, the state capital. For instance, a bag of charcoal which used to sell at N1, 500 now goes for N4, 000.
In some other places, the situation has made many homes to resort to firewood as an alternative means of cooking. Findings by our correspondent revealed that kerosene was not available in many of the filling stations in the state and the few which had sold the product at quite an expensive price (between N380 and N400 per litre) making it difficult for many individuals to afford it.
Some of the housewives who spoke to Daily Sun on the development lamented the hardship they go through in cooking since kerosene became scarce in the state, saying that the harsh situation has caused serious domestic issues in their matrimonial homes.
One of them, Mrs. Rukayat Adekunle who lived on Gbogi Street in Akure decried the sudden scarcity of kerosene in Akure and some other parts of the country, saying that “we have no choice other than to use charcoal for cooking because we can’t afford to buy kerosene now.”
She added that, “to refill our cooking gas now, we need about N4, 000 as againstN1, 800, while a litre of kerosene is about N400 where it is available. This is a terrible situation. In fact, we have never had it so bad like this in this country. Electric cooker would have been the best alternative, but for the epileptic supply of power here in Akure.”
Commenting, a food seller, Mrs. Grace Oyen, said the situation has affected her business negatively, hence her resolve to use charcoal, although she complains that the profit she makes, in the face of use of charcoal, is not commensurate with her expenses.
According to her, we are going through hard times now in this country, especially those selling foods in Akure and some other parts of the country. “The government is not assisting us in any way,” she regrets, “yet we pay our tax regularly.”
English translation of her words in Yoruba: “I now use charcoal and sawdust for cooking in my shop because of the sudden scarcity of kerosene and the high price of gas. Although it is not convenient, there is nothing I can do about it because this is the business I do and people already know me for it.”
She appealed to government to ensure availability of kerosene in all parts of the country, stressing that, “that is the only product which is used by almost every home in the country. It is therefore important for the government to make it available for us always and at cheap price.”
In many of the filling stations visited in Akure, the management of the stations complained that they did not get supply of kerosene from the depot, and appealed to the Nigeria National Petroleum Company to make the product available.