- Christmas is celebrated with high demand of goods and services
- Nigerians experience bleak celebration as prices of food items, transportation go high
- Businessmen, services providers blame price escalation on fuel subsidy removal
Few days to the yuletide, yet the bustling, rushing and break neck buying of goods and services that characterize the end of year festivities are no where to be found.
WITHIN NIGERIA checks reveal that this is as a result of excruciating level of hardship, precipitated mainly by the unplanned and sudden removal of fuel subsidy by the present government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on May 29, 2023.
It was gathered that the tight economic situation has further pushed millions of average Nigerians into poverty.
High cost of food items
Nevertheless, when our reporter went round some markets to ascertain the level of economic situation as far as the festivities is concerned, it was another tale of hardship, deprivation and seemingly bleak future for the citizenry.
At Ogbete main market, Enugu, many were seen inside the market, trying to know alternative to take as the price of food items and food stuffs really get them on the edge.
One of the buyers who spoke to our reporter said that she has planned to buy big tomato paste, a tin of local rice, meat and some tubers of yam.
However, when the sellers gave her the prices of each of these items, she had no option but to cut down on quality because of their high price.
For a seller who gave her name as Chinenye, she has not seen this kind of high cost of food items since was an adult.
The 56 year old woman narrated that ” you can imagine that by this time last year, we were selling a tin of local rice at N11,000. But today, it is N18,000. Tomato paste which was sold at N350 and N500 by this time last year is now N600 and N1000 respectively.”
Explaining further, Mrs Chinenye told our reporter that the worse is that the inflation keeps on going high.
Skyrocketing transport fare
Our reporter also went to some motor parks to know how people are making some travels for the festivities but the situation seemed to be a shadow of its former self.
The skyrocketing transport fare had literally kept millions of Nigerians who ordinarily would have gone to their villages for the celebration, tight in their respective places of residence.
At Peace Park, a popular transport company in the country, few passengers were seen there.
At the park in Nsukka, one the passengers who spoke to our reporter said he was going to Port Harcourt but the fare he saw at the ticketing section of the park gave him shock.
According to the passenger who gave his name as Onyebuchi, ” from here to Port Harcourt is now N15,000 instead of N6000 it used to be.”
Further investigation by reporter showed that from Nsukka to Enugu, Onitsha, Warri and Lagos are now N2000, N5000, N15000 and N20,000 respectively.
Meat out of reach of the poor
Aside the high cost of food items, our reporter equally gathered that meat is also out of reach of many families.
A medium size of goat that was formerly sold at N35,000 now goes as high as N55,000. Broiler that was sold at N8,000 now sells at N12,000.
Eucharia Eze, a poultry farmer told our reporter that the situation was caused by high cost of feed.
“Just imagine the feed we used to buy at N11,000 is now N13,500. That is if you see the feed at all. If check the high price of drugs we used to treat these birds, their feeds and even the price of a day old chick, you will see that we are not making any gain at all.”
Explaining further, Mrs. Eucharia told WITHIN NIGERIA that “if any one of the birds dies, it counts as a lost to your business. So, that’s why the price of broiler is very high.”
Mrs. Ekene Aleke-Obayi, popularly known as Igbo herdswoman who specializes in breeding and selling of different kinds of cows told our reporter that the price of cows is very much unprecedentedly high.
“For the moment, a sizeable and presentable cow is sold at between N700,000 to N800,000. Medium size can be bought at between N400,000 to N500,000. For now, we no longer have a cow of N250,000 unlike what we have just about two years ago.”
Asked what is the cause of the astronomical hike in price, Mrs. Aleke-Obayi explained that ” the high cost of transportation of these cows is nothing to write home about. Apart from that, there is always high demand of cows during this period, though I must say that majority of these demands come from those having one celebration or occasion or the other. Like for instance, those having burial, funeral or wedding or marriage ceremonies go for cows. These are the factors pushing the price up.”
Insecurity in the land
Beyond the soaring cost of goods and services in the country, insecurity in the has contributed to make the yuletide so much dull.
For Mr. Jonas Odo who resides in Lagos with his family, he does not see any reason he should come back to his village in Aku, Igbo-Etiti local government area of Enugu state for Christmas just to be kidnapped or even slaughtered by some criminals.
Mr. Odo, a businessman in Lagos recalled how one of his relations Dr. Ogbo Edoga was allegedly killed some years ago in his village in Aku on boxing day.
” I can’t go home for Christmas or new year celebration. What for? No. I can’t. With the high rate of kidnapping, killing and other criminal activities in this country, it is no longer safe to ply high way during festivities. After this festive period, I can go home. But not now.”