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ECONOMIC CRISIS!!! Prices Of Food Items Rise In Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Others

FOLLOWING the rise in the cost of foodstuffs across the country, the Nigerian Tribune, on Monday, took a survey of prices in different markets in the country and found that insecurity, extortion, climate change, among others are reasons for the skyrocketing prices of food commodities.

From southern states to those in the North, the experience is the same, as prices of food items soar.

In Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, prices of cow meat rise, with Alhaji Sule Esa Mohammed, state secretary of Cattle Breeders Association and also secretary to Amalgamated Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers Association of Nigeria, linking it to the strike of the union.

However, Chikezie Anekwagu, Madam God the Father, Mala Audu and other butchers linked it to extortion by security agents on the road.

"Before one can bring cows from the North to the East, security men will collect not less than N500,000. It is affecting the business," they said, adding that cows earlier sold for N300,000 are now being sold for N500,000.

For Ndubuisi Emmanuel and Mrs Ifeanyinwa Uguru, both traders in tomatoes, "in the last two weeks, we sold a basket of tomatoes at the rate of N5,000 but today, we sell for between N10,500 and N11,000 because of blockade of Zaria road."

At Kuto Market in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigerian Tribune observed increase in prices of foodstuffs in the last two weeks, the most striking being tomatoes, which had one basket sold for N5,000 before and now being sold for N20,000. Chilli pepper also rose astronomically from N10,000 a basket two weeks ago to N38,000 a basket on Monday.

For Ado-Ekiti Central Market in Ekiti State, one basket of tomatoes, sold for N7,000 two weeks ago, went for N25,000 on Monday. Also affected were onions and beef. The market which boasts of slaughtering between 45 and 50 cows daily, was able to slaughter between 25 and 30 cows on Monday due to limited numbers of cows available.

Two weeks after the Sasa incident in Ibadan, Oyo State, the impact is still being felt as prices of food stuff keep increasing in the state.

According to Mr Yahaya, who sells onions at Dugbe Market, Ibadan, prices of foodstuff including onions have gone over the roof. He noted that before the Sasa market crisis, a small basket of onion was N1,000 but now it costs N3,000, while a medium basket used to be N5,000 but is now N7,000.

"I have not been able to get more onions because of the roadblock at Jebba. If I finish selling the ones I have here and they still haven't delivered them, I will have to go back to the village," he said.

For Mrs Alao at Bodija Market, Ibadan, a small heap of yam which consists of six pieces used to be N1,300, but it now costs N2,500, if the yams are a little bit bigger, some even sell it as high as N4,000 or even N5,000. Mr Dauda at Bodija Market, who Nigerian Tribune noticed bags of beans being carried into his store one after the other, said though beans have also become expensive, he still has where he buys them from.

"A congo of white beans used to be N500 but it is now N700, while a congo of brown beans used to be N600 but now costs N800. A bag of brown beans has increased from N17,000 or N18,000 to N26,000.

"I don't know about others but I still have where I buy beans from; I have where I get beans from, but I cannot disclose that."

A pepper seller, who spoke Hausa language and did not want his name on print at Bodija Market, also complained about the increase in the price of tomatoes. Just like others, he said the roadblock has prevented him from getting more tomatoes and once the pepper he has in store finishes, he would just stay at home or travel to his home town.

"A basket of tomato was N8,000, it is now N35,000," he noted.

At the Central Abattoir in Ibadan, it was observed that as against over 500 cows being slaughtered daily, only about 100 cows were slaughtered on Monday, with a kilogramme of beef rising from N750 to N1,300.

A cow head, which initially sold for between N25,000 and N30,000, now sold for between N65,000 and N70,000 At Oje/Bodija Market, basket of tomatoes, initially sold for between N2,000 and N5,000, was sold for between N10,000 and N20,000 on Monday.

Also affected is the price of onions, which double in cost as well as pepper and yams. In Osun State, the general survey showed increase in price of onions and tomatoes, including dry peppers and beans. A kilogramme of beef also rose from N1,700 to N2,500. In Akure, Ondo State, there was increase in prices of beef, tomatoes (from N5,500 to N24,000), yam (from N2,000 for five tubers to N3,000 for same quantity), among others. At least 25 cows are usually slaughtered in Akure metropolis but the number had been reduced to between 14 and 18 cows, because of the price increase.

In Benin City, Edo State, basket of tomatoes went for N40,000 on Monday, with corresponding increase in prices of other foodstuffs. All the foodstuffs surveyed are sourced from the northern part of the country and it was believed that the blockade of Jebba road by the union could be responsible for the hike.

For Ogwashi Uku main market in Delta State, a cow was sold for N280,000 as against N200,000 two weeks ago. Prices of onions, tomatoes, beans went up in the state, however, the price of yams was relatively stable, because the people consume yams cultivated in the state and it is also the season of yams harvest.

At Igudu Market, Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State, only three cows were slaughtered on Monday, as against the about 50 cows slaughtered a fortnight ago. As of the time of filing this report on Monday, no trailer of tomatoes and pepper had arrived in the market, a development regarded as strange.

In Jalingo, Taraba State capital, both white and the brown beans increased maximally in price within the space of two weeks. A 100kg bag of the commodity, which was 33,000 in the last two weeks, rose to N45,000. Some of the traders linked the development with insecurity in the state, with many farmers fearing being kidnapped by bandits as many of them had abandoned their farms.

According to them, farmers from Bauchi, Borno and Gombe states did not engage in dry season farming. However, the cost of cow meat remained stable as of Monday during the visit by the Nigerian Tribune. In Sokoto, prices of foodstuffs soar as well, including the price of yams. The number of cows slaughtered on Monday was 130, compared to the usual 140/150 slaughtered about two weeks ago.

Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, some of the traders attributed the development to banditry, lamenting that most of their cows had been rustled and the little available ones are now sold for higher price. They also the dry season is not for tomatoes and onions, a reason the commodities increased in price in the state.

However, checks by the Nigerian Tribune revealed that prices of essential goods, including onions, yam, rice, beans, tomatoes and other edibles remain stable in Akwa Ibom State. Some foodstuffs dealers at the major markets in Uyo, including Itam and Akpanandem, who spoke to our reporter indicated that "the stability in prices of major staples is based on the fact that most of what we consume in Akwa Ibom, except beef, come from the neighbouring Cross River State."They said the state government is producing tomatoes in large farms and that has contributed to the stability in price of tomatoes at a unit price of N100.

Food prices were on steady rise in markets across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Monday, with beef and other commodities such as beans most impacted. A market survey conducted by the Nigerian Tribune at the popular Wuse Market Abuja and Utako revealed that meat prices had doubled what it used to be in the last few weeks. Customers were seen lamenting the little quantity of meat being sold at exorbitant prices.

In a chat with the Nigerian Tribune, Kabir, a meat seller, said a cow, which was going for N400,000 now costs N550,000. "We didn't see cows to buy. A cow that we bought for N400,000 is now N550,000. An addition of N150,000," says Kabir.

For Kano, it was reported that rampant cases of kidnapping and attack by the cattle rearers across the country contributed to the high price of food items across the state. Many of the traders that spoke with the Nigerian Tribune said they were afraid of travelling outside the state capital, while most farmers have allegedly abandoned their farm for fear of being attacked or kidnapped. The development made the cost of food items to rise in the state.

For Lagos, the decision of some northern food traders to restrict food movement from going to the southern part of the country seems to be gradually taking its toll on food prices. Checks at some major markets across Lagos metropolis revealed a more than 100 per cent increase in the prices of foodstuffs, including beef.

One of the meat sellers at Ikosi Market told the Nigerian Tribune that: "We travelled to Ogbomosho on Sunday to buy cattle to kill and sell today in Lagos. The cow we used to buy at N150,000 is now N300,000. "Most of my colleagues don't even have meat to sell. The meat is too expensive, one piece of meat is now N100," he stated.

Chairman, Mile 12 International Market, Alhaji Shehu Usman, identified the recent ethnic clash and attack on farmers in Oyo State as the reasons for the increase in prices of foodstuff across the South-West. Confirming the price hike, the Seriki Hausawa, Agege, Alhaji Musa Musa Mohammed, said he had personally visited some markets in the metropolis to confirm the development. Speaking through his personal assistant, Alhaji Adamu Musa, he told the Nigerian Tribune that he personally went to Agege market in the morning and bought some tomatoes, pepper and onions.

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