The respondents, who spoke with journalists in Abeokuta, Ibadan, Ado-Ekiti, Ilorin, Osogbo and Akure, said if the situation were not urgently addressed, the celebration would be robbed of its usual enthusiasm and fanfare.
At the Kuto market in Abeokuta, a bag of short-grain rice sold for N27,000 in August is now N35,000.
A 25-litre keg of groundnut oil sold for N33,000, against N27,000, while a five-litre keg now goes for N7,000, as against N5,000 in September.
The price of palm oil also increased, as a 25-litre keg now sells for N33,000, as against N22,000 a few months back.
At Omida market, there was, however, a downward turn in the price of beans, with a bag, which used to be between N65,000 and N70,000, now selling at between N35,000 and N40,000, depending on the type.
A basket of tomatoes at the market, which was sold for N1,500 around September, has increased to N3,500, while a basket of red pepper, now at N4,000, was sold at N1,500 in September.
At the popular Lafenwa market, a 50kg bag of long-grain rice went for N43,000, while a 5kg bag of Ofada rice was sold at N18,500, as against their respective prices of N33, 000 and N12,000 in September.
Yusuf Aliu, a yam seller at Olomore market, said six big tubers of yam could not go for less than N10,000, while he was ready to sell 10 small tubers for N8,000.
Mr Aliu explained that the prices of the same sizes and quantities in August were about half of the current prices.
Adejoke Ogunsanya, a Kuto market trader, lamented what she described as “low patronage,” attributing it to the high cost of food items and the low disposable income of the people.
Moses Akindele, a civil servant, said he had already been appealing to his family members that this year’s Christmas celebration would be low-key.
“We will just stay indoors, eat what we can afford, pray and appreciate God for the gift of life,” he said.
The Iyaloja of the Kuto market, Semirat Ibrahim, who expressed concern over the steady rise in prices of foodstuffs, attributed the trend to flooding, insecurity and the general downward turn of the nation’s economy.
National deputy president of All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Segun Dasaolu, ascribed the high prices of food items to the negative effects of climate change, the high cost of agricultural inputs and poor credit facility arrangement for farmers.
In Ibadan, Sunday Ajakaye, a private school teacher, said prices of food items had gone so high that he almost spent his entire salary on buying food items for his family.
Mr Ajakaye said, “As a private school teacher, I am struggling with my take home to make ends meet.”
According to Bola Alubarika, a rice merchant at Bodija market, a 50kg of rice is now selling between N37,500 and N40,000, as against N34,500 it sold in September.
Akinsola Abiodun, a vegetable oil trader, said a 25kg-litre keg of Kings oil now sells for N32,000 from N27, 000, while five litres of it goes for N7,200, adding that the price varies with other brands.
In Ado-Ekiti, the survey revealed that a 50kg bag of rice had jumped to between N48,000 and N50,000, as between N30,000 and N32,000 sold five months earlier.
A businessman at Ojumose market, Anayo Okoli, lamented the hike in prices of goods, saying it had recently reduced patronage.
A trader, Oluwatoyin Solomon, lamented the unbearable situation, saying that “even salt, which used to maintain a stable and lowest of prices, is now sold for as much as N4,300, as against the old price of N2,000.”
A public servant, Taiwo Owoeye, submitted that incessant kidnapping and other security challenges led to an increase in the prices of foodstuffs.
He called on the government to intervene by controlling the prices of foodstuffs and other goods and services in the country before the situation got out of hand.
The situation is the same in Ilorin, with traders complaining of low patronage of their goods owing to high prices.
They claimed that their sales had reduced by 50 per cent, as customers now paid double of what they used to pay, making them buy less.
A foodstuffs seller at Zapata market, known as Mummy Aisha, said the most affected of her goods were rice and groundnut oil, both of which were indispensable in almost all homes.
Osogbo residents also joined their counterparts across the country in expressing their worries at the increasing cost of food items, especially with the approach of the yuletide.
According to Abebi Ajisefini, a rice seller in the Alekuwodo market, the price of a bag of Nigerian rice is N39,000, while foreign rice is sold for between N37,000 and N40,000.
Mr Awolola Babtunde, a civil servant, said his salary could hardly sustain him and his family monthly.
Meanwhile, in Akure, Christiana Joshua, a rice seller in Shasha Market, said a 50kg bag of Nigerian rice was N28,000 before it recently jumped to N39,000, while foreign rice of the same quantity, which was N32, 000, had jumped to N49,000.
Source: Peoples Gazette.