The incessant rise in costs of petroleum products, especially petrol (gasoline) is dealing hardship blows on the average Nigerian whose source of income had continued to dip, thereby and further entrenching poverty.
FirstNigeriaTV’s Ayomide Mamora visited the famous Mile 12 International Market to do a survey of comparison in prices of staple food crops before the staggering increase in prices of petroleum products and the present moment that cost per litre gradually approaches N1,000.
At the market, a bag of rice that initially cost between N31,000 and N32,000, now leaves the market for about N42,000.
A bag of beans hitherto sold for about N28,000 now sells for over N35,000.
Garri has jumped from N16,000 to N22,000.
25 litre keg of palm oil and groundnut oil have moved from N16,000 to N25,000.
A basket of tomatoes which initially went for between N15,000 and N20,000 now goes for N40,000; a bag of the pepper brand popularly called ‘atarodo’ has jumped from N8,000 to a whooping N26,000 while onions that initially cost between N15,000 and N20,000 has fled up to about N60,000.
A popular Hausa trader at the market named Salisu Adamu, also known as ‘Babangida’ by fellow marketers and one of those that volunteered to speak with our reporter, lamented the rise in prices of petroleum products, adding that there was palpable fear that if an immediate palliative to cushion the effect of the rising prices of petroleum products was not urgently initiated, many of the sellers might be forced to stop business, ultimately leading to national food shortage.
Another Hausa foodstuffs seller, Bello Dan’Musa said that what worsened the situation is that one way or the other, patronage has reduced drastically and sellers cannot easily fling off their perishable items such as tomatoes and pepper at cheaper rates because it would lead them to further losses.
Another seller named Sabo Abdallah said government should not wait until Nigerians troop out en masse in protest before ameliorating the situation as buyers often make frustrative comments while buying expensive foodstuffs.
Aliyu Ibrahim also suggested that as a matter of urgency, the government should differentiate the prices of petrol for commercial transport from private vehicle owners, if at all, total reversal to the old pump price remains impossible. He added that there was already serious food shortage occasioned by banditry and flooding in the North and the rise in petrol prices was an added menace.
Our reporter made efforts to reach the Chairman, Mile 12 International Market, Alhaji Shehu Usman for comments but unfortunately he was said to be absent from the market.