COVID-19: Rivers residents lament hike in prices of consumables

File copy: Nigerian foodstuffs on display in a market<

Some residents of Rivers, on Saturday lamented the hike on prices of food stuffs and consumables following the lock down on markets and interstate borders by the state government.

The Rivers State Government had in a state wide broadcast on Wednesday, announced lock down on markets, as well as interstate border closures, as part of measures aimed at combating Corona virus (COVID-19), in the state.

Some residents of Elelenwo, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area (LGA), of Rivers, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the high cost of living in the state was becoming unbearable, especially for low income earners.

Mrs Max Ene, a petty trader, said her business had crumbled following the lock down on markets as traders were apparently chased out of the popular Oil-Mill market by armed security officials on Wednesday.

She said her household was currently battling starvation as they could not afford essentials from the few stalls operating in the area.

“I quite understand it is a very trying period all over the world, but our greatest challenge here in Rivers is the high cost on foodstuff, and this is more challenging than the COVID-19 pandemic itself.

“A mudu (measure) of garri, which was sold at N450, is currently selling at N1500, while a litre of groundnut oil, sold at N550, now goes for N850.

“Furthermore, a sizable tuber of yam sold for N700 now sells at N1000, same goes for rice, palm oil and other consumables,” she said.

Mr Joel Ama, a civil servant in the state, also expressed dissatisfaction over the hike in the cost of foodstuff.

Ama urged the state government to set up a price monitoring committee to check unnecessary inflation.

“The government should set up a price monitoring committee just the same way it constituted the task force on COVID-19, to check inflation,” he said.

Mr Johnson Egor, a businessman, urged the government to partner with the task force on Petroleum Price monitoring committee, to ensure that fuel stations in Rivers adhered strictly to the new reduction on pump price of fuel.

“As we speak most filling stations are still dispensing Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, at N145 per litre even when the Federal Government has announced a reduction to N125 per litre,” Egor said.