Easter: Fun spots empty as Abuja residents lament low-key celebration
It was a low-key Easter celebration for Abuja residents, yesterday, as they joined Christian faithful all over the world to reflect on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is the backbone of Christianity. Residents, who spoke to The Guardian, said that apart from church services, they could not visit fun spots as they used to because of the impact of the cash crunch.
Consequently, a visit to fun spots in the capital city, like Sledge, Children Park and Zoo, Jabi Lake, and Wonderland, showed a low turnout compared with other years.
A worshiper at St. Luke’s Catholic Church, Kubwa, Abuja, Ebere Arinze, said despite the present economic hardship, Christians should imbibe the sacrifice of Christ in nation building. She said: “Easter is the beauty of Christianity. It is my favourite Christian ritual. This is a time for us to be willing to sacrifice for a common goal, either in a relationship or friendship. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus as a perfect example of what love should be. I urge Christians to take this lesson into our nationhood. It’s time to be even more patriotic and sacrificial. Easter is low-key this year, but we are deeply grateful to God”.
A resident, Sarah Lamide, also expressed excitement for witnessing another Easter, despite the hike in prices of goods in the market. She said: “In every situation, we are supposed to be grateful to God. I am excited to be part of this year’s Easter. Although things are hard, I am just coming from the market, where I bought one and a half kilogramme of chicken for N4,000. Nevertheless, we give God all the glory. The cash crunch is over. Slowly, normalcy will return.
A resident, Nonso Abonyi blamed the low-key celebration on the no-cash policy. He said: “ People are still recovering from the shock of the no-cash policy. The stress during the cash hunt was much and people are still grappling with low cash flow in some places. The prices of foodstuffs skyrocketed, especially tomatoes. A small basket of tomatoes sold for N700 now goes for N 2,700. All these factors have killed the vibe of the celebration. Regardless of all this hardship, I am happy that I am alive to celebrate .”
A livestock seller, Mohammed Bello said: “The patronage is so low even when we tried to reduce the price of our livestock. Last year, I was still selling well on the eve of Easter, up to Easter Sunday. Last year, I sold a medium size chicken for between N4,000 and N6,000 and people still bought many including other animals like goats and sheep. But this time, the price is between N 3,500 and N4,000, yet there is low patronage.”
The Art Director of Soul Lounge, Oghene Ephraim, said: “ Before, people normally came out to celebrate, but there is a huge difference from how it used to be. We are thankful to God that the craze for money witnessed last month is receding. It’s all a good vibe. Fun lovers will still have fun regardless of the harshness of the terrain.”
Also, a regular visitor to Jabi Lake, Ezekiel Thompson, said many residents were not at the lake as expected. According to him, “Jabi Lake is usually filled with excited fun seekers, but there are only a few people. We are expecting that things might improve today, being Easter Monday and a public holiday.”
The manager of Gibson Park, Jerry Adelson, who also lamented low turnout, said: “We started selling tickets for our exclusive Easter fanfare, but people didn’t buy half the tickets we put out. It is safe to say the cash crunch affected it.”
Meanwhile, the senior pastor at the Zonal Headquarters of the Foursquare Gospel Church, Abuja, Reverend Adekunle Ibikunle, has urged Christians to deepen their relationship with God as they celebrate this year’s Easter.
In his sermon, the clergy said Christian should be conscious about their relationship with God.
“With the right relationship with God, our actions, thinking and decisions will be guided. Easter should bring us reconciliation back to God. The moment we do that every aspect of our lives and relationship with other people will be influenced by the Spirit of God. Easter should give us the opportunity to get God back into our lives and everything about our dear country will be fixed right,” he added.