Opemipo Olukoga & Agnes Oyedokun

Since the Federal Government of Nigeria enacted the fuel subsidy removal, citizens have been grappling with significantly higher transportation expenses when commuting via commercial means. This situation has left many Nigerians in a state of concern, pondering whether the new presidential administration can reverse the economic upheaval currently facing the nation.

Much like the general population, the University of Ibadan students find themselves grappling with the rising cost of transportation alongside other academic expenses. This development has stirred several reactions from students as they take to social media especially WhatsApp to express their displeasure concerning this hike. Recently, a term has emerged, ‘Leggediz’, as concerned UI students express their belief that many will resort to walking due to the surging transport fares. While some humorously discuss the prospect of undertaking longer treks once they fully return for the new academic session, it is evident that UI students are genuinely dissatisfied with this change, beyond their sarcastic remarks.

Fares to locations like UI Bookshop, SUB, Tedder Hall, Queen Elizabeth II Hall, and the likes, have risen to 100 naira as opposed to the previous 50 naira paid by students. There is also a fare increase for “drop” from 150 naira to 400 naira and 500 naira for both tricycles and cabs respectively. Similar substantial fare hikes were observed in other locations on campus.

In response to the release of the new transport prices, the executive members of the Students Union opposed this new development in a statement released on August 25, 2023, stating that the price in circulation does not fully reflect their agreement with the transport committee and stakeholders in the university. According to them, official complaints have been lodged concerning the discrepancies in the prices and they await review and adjustment.

Nonetheless, the timing of this review remains uncertain, and it seems that students will have to endure the consequences of this new development for an extended period.

During an interview with UI students, conducted by AFAS correspondent, Oyedokun Agnes; Adelanke Joy, a 100-level student of the Department of Linguistics shared her experiences from the few days she spent on campus and expressed her sympathy for the commercial drivers.

According to her, “For most of these drivers, this work is their only means of survival. This is all they have to use to feed their families. The situation of the country and the high price of fuel is not their fault. I think we all just have to manage. Now, the country’s situation demands that we manage even when it is not favorable. However, I remember one of the funny experiences I had on campus with a driver who asked us to pay a sum of 500 naira for a drive from Microfinance Bank to the school gate. We were alarmed when he said that’s the usual price which we know is untrue. My friend and I refused!”

Another freshman, Wura Adeogun* said that the new transport prices are not favorable and fair and she has had to trek long distances to save money.

“For the transport, when you board the car from the gate it’s always fair but if you are coming from your hall or anywhere inside UI going outside, it’s not always fair at all. I trek most of the time just to keep my money with me a little bit. It has not been a smooth ride. I have just been managing.”

Whether or not there would be a reduction in this price increase is unknown, but students are worried about walking long distances or spending money meant for feeding on transport fares to reach their lecture rooms promptly. Navigating this fare hike is an issue of concern for most UI students yet they foster a heightened sense of aspiration for potential changes in this new development.

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