he increase in the pump prices of petroleum and rising food prices among other factors have made this year’s Christmas season unpleasant for most residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The prices of foodstuffs such as rice, tomatoes, meat, turkey and chicken have continued to soar beyond the reach of the masses in the FCT, with hours to Christmas, SaharaReporters learnt.
SaharaReporters spoke with some market women in some major places in the FCT metropolis including Kubwa, Deidei and Wuse areas, as they revealed how prices of the commodities had recorded over 70 per cent increment.
Some consumers also recounted how the economic pressure had forced them to cut down on their purchases for the festive season.
Olufunmi Fanwa said “Prices of everything have increased in the market. I can’t buy everything I planned to buy. In fact, I will be spending twice what I spent last year’s Christmas during this year to get less.”
A trader, Agbo, in Kubwa area, talking to SaharaReporters said, “Things are not working well in Nigeria; since I am matured to know something about government; this present government is the worst ever.
“I am a fabricator, I use diesel to power my generator regularly because of bad power supply. Formerly we got a litre of diesel for N200, and we were even complaining then. But now we buy a litre for N1000, just imagine the difference.
“The frustration that the government is giving the people cannot make anyone succeed. My brother, there is trouble in this country; masses are dying of starvation not to talk of celebrating Christmas.”
One of the Maitama Market women said, “How much is coming to the salary earners? With what many are collecting now, can they buy anything with it at this Christmas?
“You see, this Christmas is very harsh. No matter how much you take to the market, you still cannot buy anything because of high prices.”
“And despite the high rate of inflation in the economy, workers’ salaries are still the same,” she added.
Mrs Adesanya who sells rice in bags at Wuse Market said “This is the worst Christmas I have ever seen in my life, because things are very expensive right now. Over the years, I have never sold rice as high as this year.
“Last year I sold a 50kg bag of local parboiled rice for an average of N20,000 while I sold foreign rice for N25,000. But this year 50kg bag of local parboiled rice sells for an average of N40,000 while foreign rice sells for N48,000.”
Mrs Momodu in Deidei said, “I am a Pastor’s wife, every Christmas we usually buy bags of rice, vegetable oil and many other things to share with family, church members and friends. That is actually not possible this year because of the prices that are way too high.
“Incomes did not grow, inflation was high and as such; what we could afford last year or two years ago are not affordable this year.”
Meanwhile, prices of livestock, including live chicken, have also increased at the popular Deidei Market.
A giant size chicken also known as parent cock which is the preferred in many homes during the yuletide, is being sold between N15,000 to N20,000, while the regular one is being sold between N9000 and N15,000.
Mr Dauda who sells chicken lamented the increase in the prices of chicken in the market compared to last year, adding that the costly chicken feed had pushed many sellers to increase the prices of their chickens so as to remain in the business.