As preparation for the Easter celebrations gets to its peak, travelers in the country have decried non-availability of vehicles to travel for the festival.
LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that as at yesterday, passengers were stranded at the various motor parks in Abuja and Lagos due to lack of vehicles.
Our correspondent who visited the popular Abdullahi Adamu Motor Park, close to Orange Market, in Mararaba, Karu local government area of Nasarawa State, reported that passengers were seen sitting with their luggages as they waited for vehicles.
One of the passengers, Mrs Grace Adamu, a civil servant, traveling to Jos for the Easter, said vehicles were not available at the park.
She said, “We have been here for close to one hour and no vehicle to board. It is like the patronage is high and almost all the vehicles have left.
“I just hope to get a vehicle that will take me to Jos. I prefer the park because it is safe, but if I see that time is against me, I will look for an alternative”.
Another traveler, Miss Helen Bako, said she arrived the motor park and was disappointed that the only bus available was going to Gombe and Bauchi.
It was a similar situation at the nation’s airports, as the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) Abuja yesterday, witnessed an upsurge of traffic, with hundreds of passengers travelling to different parts of the country for Easter celebration.
The upsurge was said to be more in the domestic wing, even as the international terminal also looked busy.
An official of the airport, who pleaded anonymity, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the airport was busier on Thursday than Friday.
He explained that the Thursday traffic was more on the Lagos route, attributing it to the celebration of Bola Tinubu’s birthday that took place in Lagos.
Mr Abdullahi Saroke, Max Air Station Manager, said all flights had been fully booked for the past three days to different parts of the country.
Traders Count Losses As Prices Of Farm Produce Crash
Meanwhile, traders of perishable farm produce, especially vegetables, are counting losses as farmers now flood markets across the country with their harvests, bringing down prices significantly.
Our correspondent who conducted survey of the market ahead of the Easter celebration observed that major receiving points in Lagos like the Mile 12 market was now flooded with tomatoes, cucumber, onions, cabbage, green beans, among other farm produce, thus crashing the prices, just as traders lamented they were not making sales.
Mohammed Abdul, secretary of the Arewa Perishable Foodstuffs Association in Mile 12, Lagos, stated that because of bumper harvest, farmers had flooded the market with tomatoes few days to the Easter.
According to Abdul, in the last two days, there has been influx of trucks with tomatoes and because farmers don’t have storage facilities, they are forced to sell at give away prices.
He said, “Before now a basket of tomatoes was sold for either N12,000 or N13,000 depending on the grade, but as of today (Thursday), a basket sells for as low as N3,000 per basket. We bought each basket between N7,500 and N8,000 from the farmers and we are now losing about N6,000 on each basket, which include N2,000 for transportation cost.
“We also have realized that many of the trucks are meant for Eastern market, like Onitsha, Aba, Port Harcourt and other major markets in that region but they decided to bring them here.
“In this market, the capacity can take about 30 trucks and each truck carries about 400 baskets and each of the baskets weighs 40 to 50 kilograms, so we don’t have the market for all these volumes”.
Also, chairman of vegetable association of Mile 12 market, Alhaji Saidu Husaini, said the Easter season brought some shortages to them as lack of storage facilities forced them to sell off their products without bargaining.
For cabbage, Husaini said the price was previously N3,000 to N3,500, but now it sells for between N4,000 to N4,500 per sack, while cucumber, which was sold for N2,500 and N3,000, now sells for N3,500 or N4,000.
Green pepper sells for N6,000 and N6,500 per carton as against N8,000 before, depending on the grade. The green pepper comes from Jos, Plateau State.
Govs, Atiku, Others Urge Nigerians To Emulate Christ
Also, state governors and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar have called on Nigerians to imbibe the virtues of love and sacrifice that characterised the life of Jesus Christ.
In his Easter message issued by his media office yesterday, Atiku described these two qualities as essential to the unity of Nigeria, especially at a time “when vested and provincial interests threaten to tear the nation apart’’.
He also encouraged Nigerians in leadership positions to use the opportunity of the Easter celebration to reflect on their stewardship to the people and the nation.
On his part, Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, called on Nigerians to tolerate one another and continue to sacrifice for the greatness of Nigeria like Jesus Christ.
The governor who made this known in a statement signed by his director general of media and publicity, Kingsley Fanwo, urged Nigerians to show love to all, regardless of status, colour or race in the spirit of Jesus Christ who died for all to make the world a better place for all.
The statement reads: ”Jesus Christ came to die for all to be saved. He sacrificed for the greatness of the world. He loved all humans on the face of the earth and never discriminated against anyone, not even the sinners.
“We owe this season a great sense of sacrifice and tolerance. We need to show love to all our brothers across the world and shun hate and discriminatory pangs. As Jesus Christ accommodated all, let us accommodate all because we are all creatures of God”.
Governor Bello also charged Nigerians to support the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to achieve its set goals for the nation, assuring them that their sacrifices is already “hatching a great nation”.
He said, “We have great potentials as a nation, almost unmatched by any black nation on earth. But the greed of the past brought the nation on her knees. The giant became the beggar.
“The advent of the present administration has relaunched the hope of the nation with shoe-string measures that challenged our patience.
“We must continue to make sacrifices, make the right choices and believe in the sterling leadership of Mr President to stir the nation away from its shambling past into hope and faith in our nation.
“In Kogi State, my administration has made tough choices to strengthen our institutions and erect big, strong and dependable development pillars.
“Today, Kogi is better and will be one of the best in the nation. I urge our people to keep faith in our administration and continue to support us through the ladder of progress”.
Taraba State governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku, called on Christians in the state to imbibe and emulate the exemplary lessons of humility and sacrifice which the life of Jesus Christ teaches mankind.
Ishaku, who stated this yesterday in Jalingo to mark this year’s Easter celebrations, charged Christians to also use this period of Easter to remind themselves of the virtues of honesty and selfless service which are the hallmark of Christianity.
He explained that peace in Taraba State remains the most important need of the people, just as he informed that his administration wants Tarabans irrespective of tribe and religion, to resolve to work for peace.
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and his deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, felicitated with Christians on the 2018 Eastercelebration, urging them to emulate Jesus Christ by making sacrifices that will advance the course of development.
Wike, in his Easter message to Christians in the state, noted that Easter exemplifies the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus Christ to savemankind, adding that as individuals, Christians must take into consideration the welfare of others.
The governor called on the people of Rivers State to rededicate themselves to the service of the state, as they reflect on the ideals of Good Friday and Easter celebration.
He assured the people of Rivers State that he will continue to make sacrifices for the state, defend her interests and ensure that the people always enjoy good governance.
Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom assured the people of the state that his administration will continued to place priority on the security of lives, property and their general welfare.
According to Ortom, the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus, which is the meaning of Easter, is a period when Christians needed todraw closer to God so that they can appreciate His abundant grace and mercy upon their lives in the face of adversities.
Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State felicitated with Christian faithful and all Nigerians on the occasion of Easter celebrations.
The governor, in a statement signed by his chief press
secretary, Musa Elayo, enjoined Christian faithful and all Nigerians to employ the spiritual lessons of Easter.
Al-Makura, also called on Christians to use the Easter as a period to reflect soberly on the teachings and what Jesus Christ stood and diedfor.
Also, Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, urged Nigerians, especially Christians to use the occasion of this year’s Easter celebrations to pray fervently for the country to overcome the socio-economic challenges currently confronting it.
The governor in his Easter message issued by his special adviser on communication and strategy, Mr. Bolaji Tunji on Friday in Ibadan called on the Christians to pray for the restoration of peace and tranquillity in all the trouble spots across the country, particularly in the North-East.