COVID-19: FCT residents, traders seek regulation of food prices


Some Residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and traders have appealed to the Federal Government to regulate the prices of food items in these trying times.
The residents and traders at various markets in the FCT said the prices of food items should be regulated to cushion the effect of the lock-down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
They made the call in separate interviews with newsmen in Abuja.
They said a lot of traders had increased the prices of their products taking advantage of the current situation to exploit consumers.
Mr James Akpan, a Civil Servant with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing said he came to Utako market to buy some food items for his family and noticed that the money he brought could not buy him enough food and essential items.
Akpan decried that the prices of food items had been increased compared to what they used to be a week ago.
I came to this market with N15, 000 to buy some food items for my family but now I cannot buy what I came here to buy because of the increase in the prices.
“I could only buy the most important items for my children to manage since salaries have not been paid.’’
Mrs Rose Ademola, a mother of three said she was appealing to the FG to help address the issue of hike in the prices of food items.
I think the government should regulate the prices of all food items because a lot of people are using the opportunity to enrich themselves.
“Why should people just increase prices of raw food that they have in their shops before, not that they bought new ones,” she said.
She appealed to traders to have the fear of God and not over increase the prices of their goods, especially food items.
It is not easy for the masses to afford some of the foods because of the sudden increase; government should somehow come to the aid of the masses.’’

Mallam Ado Suleiman, a tomatoes seller said that the increase in the price of tomatoes was because the commodity was increased by the middlemen, which was worsened by the high cost of transportation.
Mrs Adenike Adejumo, a rice dealer at the Wuse market said the price had to be increased because rice was becoming unavailable even from the warehouse.
The rice I am selling now is a new one and I bought from someone to resell because I could not get from the company again.
“The truth is that if not for the panic buying, there will be food for everyone but some people just came to buy up what they do not even need just to store,” she said.
The  Minister of FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello has ordered the closure of markets, Neighbourhood Centre and Computer Village, to curtail the spread of coronavirus in Abuja.
Bello also ordered the closure of churches and mosques in FCT, saying only shops selling food items and other essential commodities should be allowed to operate.