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Traders lament high cost of rent, food items


A trader, Mallam Nasir Maiyaki Kurfi, explaining the cost of grains to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo during his visit to Garki Market in Abuja, yesterday, as the Muslim Ramadan fasting begins today.PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, accompanied by the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, and other senior presidential aides yesterday paid an unscheduled visit to Garki Model Market located in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

The visit to the market, which was one of the activities to mark the two years anniversary of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, was meant to enable Osinbajo interact with traders and get first-hand information on the current cost of goods and other food items in the market.

He arrived the market at about 3:10 p.m., amidst cheers from the traders, who hailed him, shouting, “Osibaba, APC.”The Acting President departed the market after about 40 minutes.


However, while in the market, he spent some time haggling over the price of some food items, such as fish, onions, rice and beans.The Acting President also received complaints from the traders over the high cost of rent for space in the market.

A fish seller, who prayed for government’s intervention to reduce the cost of the shop, said it was as high as N250, 000 per year.She also complained that the prices of locally smoked fish had gone astronomically high, adding that prices of the imported varieties had also gone up.

Similarly, a rice seller, Alhaji Nasiru Maiyaki Kuryfi, complained of inadequate shop space and called on the management of the market to fast-track the completion of the shops already paid for.

Responding, Osinbajo pledged government’s intervention, particularly in the area of the alarming cost of rent.He encouraged the traders to also endeavour to embrace agriculture to enhance local produce.

He appealed to the traders to keep their goods at affordable prices, especially during the Ramadan season, saying: “The more we farm, the more the cost of products will come down.”Speaking to State House Correspondents at the end of the visit, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, said the visit was to feel the pulse of Nigerians.

He disclosed that the Acting President had earlier played host to a group of school children as part of activities to commemorate the Children’s Day today.He said: “This surprise visit is essentially in the mood of May 29 Democracy Day that is approaching. The Acting President decided to go to the market to feel the pulse of Nigerians.


“He wanted an opportunity to hear directly from the people and he decided to go to the market, so that he could have some kind of one-on-one interaction with the traders. “And of course, to assure them that the Buhari administration is very much committed to revamping the economy and to assure the people that the singular purpose of the President is to ensure that life gets better, that things improve economically and in spheres of life in this country.”

Akande added: “And it is also in time, just at the beginning of the Ramadan fast, he also used the opportunity to encourage traders to ensure that they keep prices affordable and assured that government will always be ready to do whatever it can to support all Nigerians at this time.

“Of course, you also remember that in the morning, he welcomed a group of school children, also because tomorrow (today) is Children’s Day, and he wanted an opportunity to interact with the children. “He took them to his office and also gave them gifts in the spirit of the celebration of Children’s Day.”

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