Prices of food items have doubled in some parts of the country as traders capitalized on Nigeria’s general elections which begins Saturday, February 16.
These traders took advantage of the surge in buying to inflate the cost of food items and other essential commodities, while consumers lament.
A visit by The Guardian to markets in Isolo, Ilasa and Oshodi areas of Lagos, an increased number of people shopping for food as some people expressed fear of the unknown.
At the Isolo market on Ire-Akari Estate road, residents were seen scrambling to buy meat, fish, pepper and other essential foodstuffs even though their prices had gone up unexpectedly.
A resident, who gave her name as Tito lamented that the price of fresh fish was outrageous and she had to settle for frozen fish which is more expensive than she planned to spend.
Prior to the elections, two pieces of Titus fish was sold for N1, 500. A small piece of meat costs between N1, 500 to N2, 000, but had been hiked to N3, 000. Pepper and tomatoes were not left out.
At the Ilasa market, traders were seen calling customers to ‘come and buy election food o’ as shoppers besieged their stands.
One meat seller, who identified himself as Baba Sola, said meat available was very expensive because abattoirs would not be opened until Monday after the presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday.
“Normally, the cost of meat is expensive on Saturdays because we don’t kill cows on Sundays but now, we won’t be able to sell anything till Monday,” he explained.
He admitted that he and his colleagues have made good sales in the last two days, saying the hike in prices comes with different seasons.
It was a similar situation at the malls. Long queues were seen at the ATM centres. Most of the ATMs around Isolo ran out of cash as people roamed around for working machines.
Ibadan residents at Bodija market were also involved in the last minute panic buy ahead of the election.
Many of them complained of a similar hike in foodstuffs prices.