Amidst the festive season, Nigerians, particularly those who identify as Christians, have expressed their displeasure over the rapidly increasing costs of commodities. They also explained that the country’s Christmas celebrations have been adversely affected by the current economic challenges brought on by high inflation.
When a reporter from WITHIN NIGERIA went to markets in Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, and Oyo States, respectively, he saw that sellers and buyers were fighting over pricing because the cost of necessities for Christmas celebrations has increased.
This reporter found that the price of a bag of rice has increased from N40,000 to N45,000 from the previous year to between N57,000 and N62,000. Last year, a broiler chicken sold for between N6,000 and N8,000. This year, it costs between N12,000 and N25,000. Cooking oil is priced at N30,000 for a 10-liter container and between N65,000 and N70,000 for a 25-liter bottle. Currently, a modest basket of tomatoes costs between N7,500 and N9000.
Findings by WITHIN NIGERIA revealed that some people had to add up their money in order to be able to purchase certain food items in bulk. People who couldn’t afford to buy them at exorbitant prices were observed sharing kegs of vegetable oil and bags of rice.
During an interview with buyers, WITHIN NIGERIA learned that some Nigerians formed smaller groups and pooled their money to purchase cows to divide among themselves. Also, it was learned that several Nigerians grew chickens before to Christmas and sold them to friends and family for comparatively less money than what the market would bear.
When protesting about the low number of clients, Mojisola, a rice merchant at Atakunmosa Market in Ilesa, Nigeria, told WITHIN NIGERIA that people are actually eager to buy products but there isn’t enough money.
It is quite exhausting and unsettling. Today, the majority of the sales I made were on credits. Most purchasers either pledge to pay later or pay after a protracted argument over price. A fairly dejected Mojisola remarked, “I thought this year would be different because I complained bitterly last year, but there is no difference.”
Mojisola, who had made the decision to spend her new year in the market in an effort to generate excellent sales, informed this reporter that she would be spending the holiday in her hometown of Ede because the low turnout had seriously affected her morale.
Kilekun, another rice merchant, too bemoaned the low attendance brought on high inflation.
Kilekun, who called this year’s Christmas market experience a terrible one, told this reporter that he took out some loans to buy food items, thinking that he would sell everything and pay back the loans while securing the profits for the following year.
My hopes and dreams have all been dashed. The sales this year were appalling and extremely low. We are grateful to be alive, yet I am terribly sad and disappointed. The majority of the items I sold here today were paid for with credits. Kilekun told WITHIN NIGERIA, “I just hope that I don’t regret this decision to sell on credits.”
A 34-year-old vegetable oil vendor from Ibadan named Muyiwa revealed that while he had sold some kegs of oil to specific customers, the bulk of his sales were to groups of people who came in to purchase kegs of oil and insisted on having those kegs divided into smaller portions.
At least three 25-liter kegs of vegetable oil have been shared by me. After much haggling over price, they will gather in groups and purchase the keg of oil. Subsequently, they purchase smaller kegs and request that we share them. I know someone who purchases vegetable oil in kegs from me every year. He bemoaned his lack of money when I asked him. In fact, Muyiwa regrettably described it as a serious moment for ordinary Nigerians.
While vendors lamented limited attendance, consumers were preoccupied with griping about “ridiculous” product pricing and fighting inflation.
A 35-year-old lady named Oyenike told WITHIN NIGERIA that although she didn’t anticipate a miracle when she went to the market, she never imagined that the cost of things could have increased to that extent.
Prices for chicken, rice, beans, peppers, and tomatoes have all skyrocketed. I’ve just been to the market to get some groceries so I may prepare meals for my loved ones and guests. She said, “I thought things were expensive last year, but it’s really surprising seeing the prices of things this year.”
Omolola, a mother of four, also expressed her dissatisfaction over the high cost of onions.
Omolola claims that within four or five days, the price of certain groceries or products you would buy on Monday would have doubled, which may be extremely inconvenient and irritating.
Certain items I used to purchase, like chicken, are now priced at N12,000 or N15,000 instead of the N10000, the woman decried.
Perishable commodities also have high prices. Even without money, prices are still exceedingly high. Because things are so difficult, a lot of Nigerians would purchase food products to celebrate Christmas on credit, the 43-year-old woman continued.
Deborah, another troubled buyer, told WITHIN NIGERIA that she had originally intended to send her children to her hometown for the holidays and New Year’s Day, but she had changed her mind because of the expensive cost of transportation.
Deborah, a single mother of two, revealed that, in addition to the transportation cost, she would also need to send money for rice and chickens if she sent her children to her mother, increasing her planned expenses.
By January, students would be back in class. I cannot prioritize my children’s education over enjoying Christmas and New Year’s. Deborah said, “It is better that I set these festivals aside and concentrate more on my children’s education.”
Although the prices of food and other goods generally soar during festive seasons, it seems that this year’s celebration is different due to the startling inflation brought on by a lack of finances. Ordinary Nigerians just lack the money to purchase these things since they are so pricey.