Prices of some food items have increased at some markets in Badagry, Lagos State, following the ongoing joint border security exercise ordered by Federal Government to effectively police the nation’s borders.
Checks by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at markets in the coastal town indicated that the exercise which started on Aug. 20, had resulted to restriction in the movement of some basic food items across the borders.
At the Agbalata International Market, Badagry, a 50-kilogramme bag of rice, which hitherto sold for between N11,500 and N12,500, now attracts between N20,000 and N22,000.
Similarly, prices frozen chicken and turkey had increased, compared to what obtained a week ago.
A carton of frozen chicken that sold for N9,000 on Aug. 19 now sells for between N12,000 and N14,000, while a packet of frozen turkey that sold for N8, 500 weeks ago is now being sold for between N11, 500 and N12,500.
In the same vein, a basket of small dry fish sold between N8,000 and N10,000 last market day now goes for between N15,000 and N17,000.
A basket of big dry fish sold between N18,000 and N20,000 at the last fish market day now attracts between N26,000 and N30,000, depending on the bargaining power of the buyer.
Mrs Funke Kuponu, a fish trader, attributed the increase in the price of fish to the joint border security exercise, adding that most of the dry fish were brought in from the Republic of Benin, Togo and Ghana.
“The sellers from other countries coming to sell dry fish in Badagry market are being sent back because they do not have valid travel documents to enter the country.
“We go to their countries to sell our own fish too; but the restriction has really affected everybody here.
“Many people coming from other states to buy dry fish in Badagry were disappointed when they saw few sellers displaying their fish.
“The few sellers that came through the water have doubled their prices; things are very hard now; the presence of the task force has affected our means of livelihood here in Badagry.
“We appeal to the task force to allow the fish sellers and other petty traders to come to the market to sell their goods because fish is not contraband,” the woman said.
At Ajara New Market, the prices of fruits such as apples, cucumber, oranges and plantain had increased, compared to the prices they attracted some days back.
Mr Ebenezer Kuponu, Chairman, Community Development Committee (CDC), Badagry Local Government Area, appealed to the residents to patronise local fruits.
Kuponu said that the the non-availability of fruits from the Republic of Benin had resulted in hike in the prices of the commodity in the market in Badagry.
According to him, the fruits produced in Nigeria are more nutritious than the ones being smuggled into the country from Benin Republic.
Many travellers and vehicles were stranded for hours at the Seme border post as a result of the exercise.
It observed that the travellers were being thoroughly searched by the security personnel drafted to the area.
The joint border security, code-named ‘Ex-Swift Response’, ordered by the government was aimed at securing Nigeria’s land and maritime borders.
The exercise, which started on Aug. 20, was being jointly conducted by the customs, immigration, police and military personnel, and coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).