-Residents call for financial, food support to stay indoor
It was mixed reactions on Friday, April 3, 2020, when the Lagos State Emergency Market situated at the Government Technical College, Ikorodu, was opened for the second time for trading activities.
The market, which was officially opened on Sunday, March 29, 2020 and scheduled to be held every three days as an intervention for the current lockdown to enable residents replenish their foodstuffs, was unable to hold last Wednesday as scheduled.
The trading activities in the market on that Friday was an improvement on the opening day as more goods and products were available while residents turned out enmasse to make purchase.
While some of the residents commended the State government for the initiative, others complained about the high prices of foodstuffs being sold in the market.
The residents also called on both the Federal and State Governments to support them with money and food to cushion the effects of the lockdown.
One of the residents, who spoke with THE IMPACT, complained that the prices of foodstuffs at the market are higher than what is obtainable in normal market.
“We thought that prices of foodstuffs would be considerate here, being a government market, but on getting here, we found out that the prices are higher than that of the regular market.
“What is more annoying is that we trekked down to this place from our various homes. Government should endeavor to assist common people with aid during this period of lockdown”, he pleaded.
Another resident stated that she felt disappointed coming to the market only to find out that some products that she needed in his home were not available while those that were available were sold at the same rate with those in the normal market.
Speaking with Mrs Sola Ogunneye, a seller of farm produce from Agbele Farmers’ Group, she said that:
“We are here to sell banana, pawpaw, garri, red oil, beans, vegetable and yam powder among others.
“People came in the morning but complained about the prices but later returned to make purchase”.
Explaining why the prices for some produce were high, she stated that:
“The restriction on movement affected the cost of our produce. Things were scarce and those that we were buying from have hiked the prices.
“We are the one selling at the regular market and there is nothing that we can do about the prices. For instance, the vehicle that brought us from farm charged higher fares than before. Thank God that the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture assisted us in bringing our goods from our various homes to the venue of the emergency market, we would have incurred more expenses if they had not”, she further explained.
“If the cost of transportation and what we are buying at the market reduce, our prices would definitely reduce. We are selling what we bought”, she stated.
Mr Bayo Rasaq, a meat seller, stated that he did not make much sales because residents were complaining that there is no money in circulation and that the prices of things in the market were high.
“l have not made much sales since because people are complaining that there is no money in circulation. They are also complaining that the prices of the meat are higher than before.
“The increase in prices is due to the fact that the Fulani people are bringing cows for us are unable to do so since the lockdown and the few ones that we are getting are extraordinarily high. There is nothing we can do about that until things stabilize and we are getting regular supply”.
Another resident, Mrs Bola Shopitan said that she came to the market with the remaining money left with her to purchase food items.
She pleaded with the Federal Government to support citizens with financial aid.
“I came to the market with the remaining money I have with me to purchase food items”, she lamented.
“The prices of foodstuffs in the market is relatively okay and are the same with the ones in regular market. We thank the (government) for initiating this emergency market. The market is okay. I have bought fish, palm oil and maggi but I ‘m unable to get pepper and garri because they are not available in the market.
“What we want from the government is to credit our accounts with money. We have learnt that they have been giving money to the people in the northern part of the country. We need financial support to be able to feed ourselves during this period of lockdown. We trekked from far distance to come to this market”, she pleaded.
Another resident of Ikorodu, Mrs Akintola Muda, stated that :
“I have bought all that I came to the market for except pepper and garri.
“We want you (our reporter) to plead with the government on our behalf to help us with what to eat and money. They have locked us up in our various homes and we cannot do anything to earn money to take care of ourselves.
“We have children at home without anything to give them. Government should assist us with what to live on. They ought to provide for us since they are the one that locked us at home. We are ready to stay indoor for a year as long as they are providing for our needs, especially food.
“Government should provide food and money for the citizenry. We are really suffering”, she added.
Meanwhile, a senior government official who was on supervision duty at the market, while speaking with our reporter, stated that there is no way the government can regulate prices at the emergency market.
She explained that traders in the market brought their produce and products to sell on their own and that government only provided the venue and space for them free of charge to enable residents replenish their foodstuffs eat since the regular markets have been shut due to the lockdown.
She stated that Friday was the second time the Lagos State Emergency Market was opened for trading activities and day’s activities were improvement on the opening day on Sunday, March 29, 2020, in term of patronages and produce and products available for sale.
The senior government official, who stated that anyone can bring their goods to sell at the market, also added that necessary precautionary measures to ensure social distancing towards preventing the spread of the coronavirus have been put in place in the market and that residents coming into the market are strictly monitored to adhere to them.
She also assured residents of Ikorodu that there would be improvement in every aspect of the market when next it would hold.