Eid-el-Kabir is one of the festive seasons that is marked with pomp and pageantry in Nigeria. In the last few years, however, the state of the country has taken the shine off the celebration due to insecurity and the high cost of commodities.
This year’s Eid-el-Kabir will remain fresh for a long time to come as one that is celebrated in fear while soaring prices of items hold sway.
As usual with every other festival in Nigeria, prices of things have gone up, especially items needed to celebrate the festival, including food items and buses that are travelling interstate.
Not being deterred by the current inflation rate in the country and the state of insecurity, people are still buying food items in large quantities and are still travelling to different states of the country to meet with their family members and celebrate.
A trip to the popular Mile 12 market in Lagos on Friday, a hub for fresh food items and vegetables, was shocking to see that the market that is always full and busy, was nearly empty in terms of fresh food items and the traders, who had because of low trading activities, travelled to celebrate the festival.
This in return also caused an increase in prices of items as a basket of tomatoes that was sold for N8,000 in late June, now sells for N29,000 and the ones that were sold for N16,000 now go for N38,000. This left buyers with no choice.
The increase also affected other items like pepper, yam, onions and fruits which prices are expected to even go higher than that as the festival draws near.
Most importantly, the price of rams, which is central to Eid-el-Kabir, has shot to the roof, so much so that many people cannot afford it.
Findings from the ram and cattle market at Moshalashi in Alimosho area of Lagos showed that a mature ram that sold for about N210,000 now goes for as much N500,000 depending on the size.
N300,000 and N350,000 for a ram and N600,000 for a mature cow.
Alhassan Ibrahim, who came to the market to buy ram lamented the price saying,”The price of ram has really gone up, we are no longer buying it at the usual amount we used to buy it. Then, a mature ram between N150,000 to N180,000. As it is now, it’s up to N350,000,” noted Ibrahim.
As usual, the various bus terminals in Lagos are full with passengers who are traveling out of the state to celebrate and already, there is a hike in the transport fare of both intra and inter-state buses.
Commuting via public bus from Fadeyi to Ojota has now increased from N300 to N500 and from Mowe to 7Up has also increased from N300 to N500, being the most popular route out of Lagos to other states.
As usual, the Ojota motor park is busy, while many had traveled earlier to avoid the excessive fares as the festival draws near.
Passengers boarding buses from Lagos to Ife now pay between N3,100 and N3,500 from its usual price range of N2,500 and N2,700, depending on the type of transit.
A passenger lamented saying, “That’s how we pay excessive fare whenever we are in a festive season, we are used to it already. Anyone it is not convenient for will have to travel before the festive season comes at a cheaper price”
Boarding a bus from Lagos to Benin now cost N3,700 from its usual price of N3,000 while from Lagos to Ibadan didn’t really go up as passengers still board at usual price of N1,500 although, Fatai Akanni a bus driver said “The price for now is still N1500 but as from friday, passengers should be ready to board at N2,000”
Lagos to Owo now ranges from N3,500 to N4,600 from the initial fare of N3,200 while Lagos to Abuja is now between N8,000 and N10,200 from the initial fare of N7,000. Passengers from Lagos to Delta (Warri) now pay N13,000 while those going to Delta (Asaba) pay N10,900. From Lagos to Imo(Owerri) now goes for N12,000.
Despite the high transport fare to go and celebrate sallah with friends and families, the deplorable state of the road create fear into the travellers owing to the increasing spate of banditry and kidnapping in the country by undesirable elements who take advantage of the bad state of roads to strike at the road users.
Abdul Imoh, who is going to Auchi, in Edo state asked for prayers to go and return to Lagos safely owing to the state of the road and the criminals that take advantage of the deplorable state.
The Lagos-Ibadan expressway is still a nightmare to travellers in the last few days due to the longer hours being spent due to road rehabilitation.
The bad situation is being compounded by increaing numbers of muslims already travellin home for the Eid-el-Kabir that is slated for tomorrow, Saturday.
The on-going rehabilitation of the road which had already, an age-old issue to passengers is being compounded by the exodus for sallah.
Some travellers, who were on the road in the early hours of Wednesday, said they had a smooth journey up to the first interchange after Sagamu before road restrictions caused some traffic buildup.
The snail movement went on for hours till they reached the last toll-gate to Ibadan
The trip from the old toll-gate to Iwo Road end was ‘hellish’. Some passengers said they spent more than four hours from the toll-gate to get to Iwo road roundabout.
Jaiye Olaniyi, a traveller, said he spent more than four hours in the traffic that was caused by road reconstruction, which was worsened by a petroleum truck which fell across a section of the road.
Some passengers, who had fore knowledge of the road situation in Ibadan, said they detoured from the expressway to some inner-Ibadan roads to beat the traffick.
Peju Adeyemi, who was travelling to Ife, said she spent two hours in the melee before diverting to the Ring Road which she followed up to Iwo Road roundabout.
Even,after the Iwo Road roundabout, the road to Ile-Ife was not free as the traffic stretched up to the first old toll-gate along that axis.
Some travellers who were exhausted but still had long journeys to make after Ibadan said they were determined to make the trip home.