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Lagos residents lament high cost of food

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[FILES] Food vendors at a market.

For months, Nigerians have been lamenting a continuous increase in prices of goods and services.

In Lagos, the nation’s commercial nerve centre, prices of goods have increased drastically with residents and traders blaming President Muhammadu Buhari for not doing enough to check rising food prices.

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When The Guardian visited the Oshodi market, traders lamented that prices of goods increased daily while the President seemed to be ignoring the cries and complaints of the masses, thereby making it unbearable for traders to make profits.

A trader, Kafayat Ademuyiwa, who sells provisions and groceries in the market, said: “Buhari knows the solution, only that he wants to punish us in this country. Can’t he see that the prices of goods are unbearable? The prices of goods are going up now and then. We can’t bear it again in Nigeria because the prices of things are increasing every minute.

“Before we used to buy small Hollandia milk for N60, now it is N100. If you want to buy noodles, a carton goes for N950. Now, we are buying it for N2,450. The Spaghetti that I used to buy for N2,400 now goes for N4,800 per carton. As traders, we are tired, we just sit under the sun getting nothing,” she said.

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A pepper trader, who identified herself as Iya Osogbo said: “The cost of food is very expensive, especially pepper and tomatoes. Two years ago, a basket of tomatoes went for N4,000, but now, it is N18,000 or N17,000. I can’t afford to buy a basket because of the hike. The money we used to buy a basket of pepper and tomatoes is what we now use to buy smaller quantities. Also, a quarter bag of pepper is now N6,500. We bought one bag of Shombo for N13,000 yesterday. Today, I could not afford the price, and so I had to buy a bit from other traders.

“The cost of pepper and tomatoes is as high as N18,000 this year compared to 2015 when a basket was sold for N4,000. Some of the traders complained that the government is involved in the hike of prices. The traders also complained of over taxation and the high cost of transportation to Lagos.

“I heard that some security officials collect up to N25,000 from traders just to bring the goods into Lagos. When we approached the dealers to reduce the price, they became furious,” Iya Osogbo said.

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Another trader, Kemi Adelaja, appealed to the government to wade into the situation, saying: “President Buhari should come to our aid. We have children who are in higher institutions and most of us bear the burden of their fees.

“Their fees are now very high. I have sponsored three children who are now graduates from different universities in Nigeria. The fees I am currently paying on my last child are more than the money I paid to train his older ones through school. The government should help us.”

The experience of Ayo Oguniran, who sells beef at the market, is not different. Recounting his experiences, Oguniran said he had been recording losses in the last six months.

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Another trader, who sells fruits, Faruq Adamu, said the price of a measure of dates that used to cost N1,500, rose to N2,000 at the beginning of the year.

While calling on the Federal Government to address the situation, Lagosians threatened a mass protest to shut down the country if the situation continued.

“The government should know that everyone is not a civil servant that receives salaries. We are not depending on the government to pay bills other than this business than we do. Some of us have graduated from school without working.

I am not happy at all and if President Buhari or anyone responsible does not do something, we will close down our businesses till our yearnings are heard,” Adebayo Yemi said.

A civil servant, who spoke with The Guardian in confidence said: “It is like I am not working at all. I work with the Lagos State Government and receive a salary, but at the end of the month, I pay the debt because I borrow weekly from friends to buy groceries for my family. How much is a bottle of Coca Cola soft drink now? How much was it three months ago? That is what we are saying. It keeps increasing.”

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