Easter Celebration: Traders, residents lament low patronage, high cost of food items
NSCDC assures of maximum security
As Nigerians celebrate Easter, traders across markets in Lagos have continued to lament that there are no signs of festivity as patronage is very low.
A visit to some markets in Lagos revealed that traders and consumers are not happy with the current economic situation of the country, as consumers could barely afford to buy goods because of the hike in prices.
Also, the markets were not in a festive mood as there was no hustling or bustling that usually characterise the season.
A visit to some major markets in Ikotun, Mushin, Yaba, Oshodi and Cele on Wednesday showed prices of foodstuff skyrocketing by 20 percent after last month’s survey.
Tochi Johnson, a rice dealer in Daleko Marker Mushin, said the price of rice has gone up by 20 per cent in the last one month.
He said: “ A bag of foreign rice previously sold for N26, 000 is now N29, 000, depending on the brand, while the Indian rice (Agric), which was 27,000, now goes for 30,000.
‘‘The so-called Nigerian rice is not cheap either, the increase in price has also caused reduction in profit, We now sell for almost the cost price.’’
A buyer in the market, Blessing Anthony, lamented the high cost of foodstuff, saying the difference in prices of goods in a matter of days is alarming.
“ It is not about to reduce, I am tired, we aren’t getting friendly prices at all,” she lamented.
Similarly, an oil seller, Mama Christabel explained that a 25-litre red oil that sold for N19,000 on Wednesday, went up to N20,500, yesterday.
“ I don’t know our fate tomorrow because the company price for 25 litres of groundnut oil, which sells for N28,500, before, is now N31,300 .’’
A trader at Yaba Market, Mr. Osinachi complained of low patronage, saying the goods are available, but costly.
But the prices of tomatoes and pepper were a bit low, a situation, Mr. Sunday Oka, a market leader in Ikotun, attributed to the Ramadan fast.
He said: “What we are experiencing now is quite different from what we have seen before. A basket of tomatoes last month sold N18,000, now it has gone down to N15,000; also a basket of fresh pepper, which sold for N24,000 last month, now sells for 16,000. It’s unlike Easter period, as people are not eating.
“A basket of onion is N22,000 now as against former N18,000, there is no money but we are waiting for customers to come and buy.’’
AT Oshodi market, a fabrics dealer, Simon Udokwa, lamented low patronage, saying many residents are concentrating on food rather than clothes.
Another dealer, Dupe Taiwo said they are begging people to buy materials. Frozen food dealers are not left out, as they are in pains over poor electricity supply and the cost of frozen food.
A frozen food dealer in Mushin, Ajoke said a carton of turkey now sells for N22,000, a carton of full chicken N22,000, carton of chicken lap N20,000, while a carton of gizzard goes for N29,000.
“As you can see aunty, how many days to Easter we have not seen anybody. Many people are trooping into our cold room but they are coming out without buying anything because of increase in price.”
MEANWHILE, the Commandant General ( CG), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ahmed Abubakar Audi, has ordered massive deployment of personnel from State Commands, Zonal Commands and the National Headquarters to suspected flash points to conduct raids and beef up security operations ahead of Easter.
NSCDC said tactical units have been deployed to places of worship, recreational facilities, markets, shopping malls, parks and gardens and critical national assets and infrastructure to guard against sabotage of government’s efforts and curtail criminal activities.
Spokesperson for Corps, Deputy Commandant Corps (DCC) Odumosu Olusola, in a statement, said personnel from the Intelligence units, Agro Rangers, Armed Squad, Special Forces, Rapid Response Squad, Special Female Squad, SWAT, K9, Counter Terrorism Units and the Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Explosive unit (CBRNE) have been deployed to ensure adequate security.
He stressed that the action became necessary in view of security threats occasioned by the activities of bandits and criminals, adding that, it is imperative to put in place new security structures to forestall any breach of peace during this period.
Olusola said the Corps will not leave any stone unturned in making sure that its mandates are carried out to the satisfaction of all citizens, stating that officers have been directed to be on red alert to look out for miscreants and mischief makers who would want to take advantage of the celebration to unleash terror attacks on innocent Nigerians and foreigners living in the country.