There’s an uproar in Warri and environs in Delta State over the high cost of staple foods and rams that often go with Sallah celebrations.
Checks by Tribune Online on Thursday at Igbudu Market near Hausa Quarters in Warri revealed that patronage for rams, rice and beans, tomatoes, onions and pepper has been largely drab partly owing to inflation and lack of financial power.
Respondents at the market lamented the inflationary trend affecting major food stuffs and the poor cash flow which they said have become unreachable for the ordinary people.
From statistics gathered from Blessing Umukoro, a pepper seller, Blessing Onobevune, a tomato seller, Ochuko Esemiteye, an onion seller and Alhaji Gobe Abubakar, ram seller, among others, things were cheaper in 2016 Eid-el-Kabir than this year’s.
For instance, rams brought from Sokoto and Kano have varying prices depending on their sizes. Alhaji Abubakar, a ram seller, said “We dey sell big ram for N100,000, N110,000 and N120,000, while medium size na N70,000 and the small one na N50,000.”
Bemoaning the cost of the ritual code, Abubakar enthused: “Everywhere dry, people nor get money; last Sallah, market dey pass dis one. Na people wey get money fit manage buy ram.”
Last year, a sack of pepper sold for between N7, 000 and N8, 000, but today, it dangles between N13, 000 and N15, 000 per sack. As a result, “Market nor dey as before oh, last Sallah beta pass dis one o, things dere well well this time,” Blessing Umukoro averred.
The cost of tomatoes, according to Blessing Onobevune, a tomato seller, is alarming. “We dey buy am N14,500 for big basket and N10,500 for small one,” she lamented, adding in pidgin, “Abeg last salla beta pass dis one.”
Cost of onions isn’t different as Esemiteye decried very low patronage from customers as of Thursday.
“We never see sallah market oh, we dey wait for them; dem dey complain say money nor dey. Hajiya wen dey buy N500 onions before, now na so so N100 own dem they buy.
“Last Sallah beta pass this one 100 per cent. Small onions, small basket na N1,000, big size N3,500, very big one N8,000,” she disclosed.
For vegetable oil, Madam Enweliku believes sale will still pick up few hours to Sallah because she believes “they’ve not finished buying, they are still buying, but last one is definitely better than this.”
She added that, “as of last week. 10 litres of Kings Oil was sold for N5,100, while 25 litres went for N12,800, but now 10 litres is N5,600 and 25 litres is N13,500.”
Mrs Mohammed sells rice and beans. According to her, “Market nor dey as before, dat one beta pass dis one.”
She disclosed that a bag of brown beans which was N30,000 now sells for N45,000, while white beans that sold for N23,000 is now N26,000.
She, however, added that the price of a bag rice had come down from N20,000 to N18,500, but lamented low sales.
Meanwhile, customers, who all spoke to Tribune Online, called on the Federal Government to urgently reengineer the economic fortunes of the common man in the country.
However, the Muslim community in Warri and environs is agog ahead the Sallah celebration Friday as many embark on a last minute rush to fine tune preparations.