By Charity Nwakaudu Abuja
residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, like others tend to be psychologically under pressure, which comes with high expectations.
In Abuja, this Christmas seems to have come with mixed feelings.
Residents confessed Daily Sun that the celebration is going to be low-key due to the effects of COVID-19 on the already frustrating economic situation.
Edeh Joseph resides in Kuja, a stone-throw from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. He said: “The economic situation in the country is so hard right now that, even feeding now is even a problem.
“It is already Christmas and I have not done any preparation because there is no money and everything in the market is very expensive, just a bag of rice is double of what it used to be.
“You have not talked about other food items. Although my children are disturbing that they want to travel to the village to see our parents, it won’t be possible because we can’t afford it this time.
“I have just managed to get new clothes for the younger ones because they won’t understand, no matter how you try to explain to them.
Though, I had my budget for the year but I couldn’t make it because we have not really recovered from the scourge of COVID-19.”
A resident of Kubwa, Mariam Yahaya: “This year’s Christmas is going to be low keyed due the economic impact accompanied by COVID-19 problem.”
She said they managed to get some clothes for the children, just for Christmas none for the New Year:
“This year’s Christmas is not going to be large like it used to be because of the situation of things in the country. In the past, by this time I would have concluded my shopping and arrangements for the family. This year I am still trying to fix some things.
“We normally buy Christmas and the New Year clothes for the children.
But this year, we just managed to get one, which will be repeated for the New Year. For the shoes, they will have to use their last year’s shoes. For those who have outgrown theirs, they will have to use their school shoes. “As for traveling out of Abuja for the festival, it is out of the plan. We are not traveling home this year. We went last year. The beginning of the year was pure hell even sending the kids back to school was difficult.
“This time we have learned our lessons. The little things that we can afford we will send to our parents at home while we celebrate the holidays here in Abuja.”
A resident of Maitama, John Samuel, said: “I used to send bags of rice to my mother in the village to distribute to the widows. This year, I
have not been able to settle my immediate family, let alone sending to others. I feel very sad because it is one of the things I have pledged
to be doing to contribute to the welfare of the less privileged.”
Traders are not left out of the complaints. They admitted that patronage has been very low compared to what they used to have. A dealer in children’s wear at Wuse Market, Obinna Eke, said:
“Previously, by this time, we would have made large sales. But this year nothing is really happening. But we have not lost hope because anything can still happen.”
Another trader, dealing on rice, Ann Okeke: “This is normally our season. People come to buy rice in bags to distribute to families and others. But with the price of rice today, everywhere is like no Christmas is coming up soon.”
Tailors also lamented low patronage this season. Joy Achile is one of them: “This year is different from the other years. The hardship in the country is being felt all round. Very few customers are bringing clothes for sewing. It is so bad that even paying deposit for work has become a problem.”
Another tailor at the Central Market, Kubwa, said: “I normally stopped receiving materials from customers by the end of November previous years. But this year, I am still collecting yet I have not collected any reasonable number of clothes.
“The greatest nightmare is that most of the customers have not deposited anything. They just dropped their clothes and I won’t make them with my money because some of them may never come back for collection.”
However, even in the midst of the heat, some FCT residents admitted that this is their best year. They said they have made necessary arrangements and eagerly waiting for the day.
Ebere Ezeh: “As a family man with three kids, I started my arrangements from January. As prices of some foodstuffs went rapidly high, I am not affected because I planned and saved ahead of time. I have gotten everything I needed for the festival and even paid my children’s fees for the next term. When you plan ahead, you will always be at the safer side.”
Madam Josephine said this is going to one of her best Christmas: “I am done with the buying of my children’s clothes. Most of the foodstuffs we will use during the festive season have been purchased. This is because I really planned ahead.
“I joined a weekly contribution, which was concluded in October. It is the money I realised from there that I used. It was like a gift. I didn’t feel the burden of removing it from my pocket at once.
“Some of my friends I invited to join the group who refused, are now facing the heat of high cost of foodstuff and pain of removing the money from their pockets at this hard time.”