Bleak Christmas as Food Prices and Transport Fares Escalate

Christmas is celebrated with high demand for goods and services Nigerians are experiencing a somber holiday as food and transport prices soar Businessmen, service providers blame price increase on cancellation of fuel subsidies.

A few days before the holiday, there are still many activities, rushing and breaking the necks of purchasing goods and services that are characteristic of the end of the year holidays are not available.

Internal investigations into Nigeria reveal that this is the result of extreme levels of hardship.

This is largely due to the unplanned and sudden cancellation of fuel subsidies by the current government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on May 29, 2023.

It was revealed that the tight economic situation has pushed millions of average Nigerians into poverty.

High cost of food products However, when our reporter toured some markets to ascertain the level of the economic situation regarding the festivities, it was yet another story of hardship, deprivation and a seemingly bleak future for the citizens.

At the main market in Ogbete, Enugu, many were seen inside the market, trying to find out alternatives to take as the price of food and food products really puts them on edge.

One buyer interviewed by reporters said she planned to buy a large tomato paste, a can of local rice, meat and some yam tubers.

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 one seller, who calls herself Chininye, she has never seen such expensive food in her adult life.

The 56-year-old said: “You can imagine that at this time last year.

We sell a can of local rice for N11,000. But today, it is N18,000.

Tomato paste which sold for N350 and N500 by this time last year is now N600 and N1000 respectively.

Ms Chinenye said in further clarification to our reporter that what is worse is that inflation continues to be high.

Rapidly rising fares Our reporter also visited some car parks to see how people were traveling for the celebrations, but the situation appeared to be a shadow of its former self.

High transport prices have kept millions of Nigerians who usually go to their villages to celebrate, confined to their places of residence.

At Peace Park, a popular transport company in the country, few passengers were seen there.

At Nsukka park, one of 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 surprised him.

According to a passenger who identified himself as Onyebuchi, “from here to Port Harcourt now costs N15,000 instead of N6,000 as before.”

Further investigation by the reporter showed that from Nsukka to Enugu, Onitsha, Warri and Lagos it is now N2000, N5000, N15000 and N20,000 respectively.

Meat out of reach of the poor Apart from the high cost of food items, our reporter equally gathered that meat is also beyond the reach of many families. A medium sized goat which was previously sold for N35,000 now fetches N55,000.

The broiler which was sold at N8,000 is now selling at N12,000.

Eucharia Eze, a poultry farmer, told our reporter that this situation was due to the high cost of animal feed.

“Just imagine that the feed we used to buy for N11,000 now costs N13,500.

That is if you see the stream at all. If you check the high price of the drugs we use to treat these birds, their food and even the price of a day old chick, you will see that we are not making any money.

Explaining further, Ms. Eucharia said within Nigeria that “if any of the birds die, it is a loss for your business. Therefore, that is why the price of broiler chicken is so high.”

Mrs. Aken Aleke-Obayi, popularly known as Igbo herdsman, who specializes in breeding and selling of different types of cows, told our correspondent that the price of cows is unprecedentedly high.

“Currently, a big and presentable cow sells for between N700,000 and N800,000.

Medium size can be purchased for between N400,000 and N500,000. At present, we no longer have a N250,000 cow unlike what we had just about two years ago.

When asked what was the cause of the astronomical price increase, Ms Aleke-Obayi explained: “The high cost of transporting these cows is nothing special.”

Apart from that, there is always a high demand during this period, but I must say that the majority of these demands come from those celebrating one or another.

Like for example, those who organize burials, funerals or wedding ceremonies opt for cows. These are all factors driving up prices.

“Insecurity on the ground In addition to the soaring cost of goods and services in the country, insecurity is what makes Christmas so boring.

Mr. Jonas Odo, who lives in Lagos with his family, sees no reason why he should return to his village at Aku in Igbo-Etiti local government area of Enugu state for Christmas, just to get kidnapped and even murdered by some criminals.

Mr. Odo, a Lagos businessman, recalled how one of his relatives, 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 celebrations. what for?

NO. I can’t. With the high rate of kidnapping, murder and other criminal activities in this country, it is no longer safe to walk on the highway during celebrations. After this festive period I can go home. But not now. “

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