Uche Usim, Abuja
As Nigeria inches towards a total shutdown, prices of groceries across retail stories have skyrocketed as consumers invade markets to stockpile foodstuffs that will last them for the next 14 days when the first round of lockdown would last.
The panic buying has emptied most retail stores and worse still, the owners have not been able to restock because the coronavirus pestilence has horribly disrupted supply chains globally.
A supermarket owner in Kubwa area of Abuja, Mrs Sharon Olubiyi told Daily Sun that she has not been able to get supplies from Lagos and overseas in the last 10 days.
She said: “In the last one week or so, I sold out most valuables in my shop due to customers rush over COVID-19.
“I called my suppliers in Lagos and they said they’ve run out of peak milk, Milo and other beverages.
“All other items I sell that are imported are also exhausted. Consignment are coming from Europe and Asia.
“Most of the items I sell have increased due to excess demand and insufficient supply”, she said.
Again, at the popular Dutse market in Kubwa, prices of tomatoes, peppers and other food items have increased.
A housewife, Mrs Tolulope Eke said life chicken, yams, beans and other items have increased in price.
“You need to see the tomatoes I bought for N2,000, very small. Ordinarily, that should not be more than N1,200. The sellers said farmers are no longer bringing their produce because of disruption in movement.
“I learnt government is about to halt inter-state transport as a containment measure. Many local airlines have announced plans to stop operations. Foreign airlines have stopped. The economy has shutdown in my opinion”, she lamented.
Mrs Cecilia Abuah, a civil servant also lamented the hike in food prices.
“No plantain today in garki market. Other food items are costlier. Let me not even mention hand sanitizer, it’s almost as expensive as crude oil. Rice, beans, yams and others are now expensive. No work. No money. No food. We’re in trouble”, she lamented.