As Nigerians prepare for the presidential election coming up on Saturday, residents of Lagos State, western Nigeria, have started to stock-pile food items in their homes.
P.M.NEWS investigations revealed that this is to prevent families from running out of stock should violence erupt after the polls to warrant markets and shops being shut.
Consequently, the prices of food items have risen in the past few days in the run up to the elections.
P.M.NEWS investigations revealed that the situation was caused by the residents’ apprehension about the outcome of the election.
At Iyana-Iba and Mile 2 areas, residents have been trooping to the markets to buy food items.
Some of the residents and traders who spoke to our correspondent confirmed the development.
Mrs Joy Nnaemeka said since the election campaign started, there has been tension in the state and she had to stockpile food at home to prevent her family from starving if the election results in violence in the state.
She said if there is crisis, shops and markets may be shut and it will be difficult to buy food items in such a situation.
She expressed surprise that prices of food itmes have soared in recent weeks.
Another resident, John Emeka, said this year’s election was generating a lot of tension and he did not want to be taken unawares because of past experience.
He explained that he had to borrow money to buy basic food iems and keep in the home to avoid regretting at the end of the day.
Emeka observed that since the electioneering campaigns started, there have been violent attacks and killing of political opponents in Lagos, Imo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and other parts of the country and he prayed that it should not escalate after the election.
Some of the food items that are now in high demand are rice, beans, yam, fish, tomatoes among others.
A bag of rice which was sold for N8,500 last month is now being sold for between N9,000 to N9,500, while other brands of rice which are of high quality are sold for between N10,000 to N12,000 in some areas such as Ikotun, Ejigbo, Iyana Ipaja and Oshodi.
A tuber of yam that was earlier sold for between N250 to N300 now goes for between N400 to N500, while prices of other item have also increased in some areas in the state due to high demand.
A yam seller at Ikotun market, Mrs Gbemi Idowu, said that two weeks ago, they were selling yams at normal price until they went to Mile 12 market where they buy their stock and did not see yams to buy.
She explained that those who bring the yams in large quantity from the North to Lagos have temporary stopped supplying them until after the election for their safety.
“This has also affected the price of beans as a cup of beans (derica) has increased to N200 unlike before when it was sold for N150,” she explained.
Another food seller at Iyana Ipaja market, Eze Obi, said there is high demand for food items such as rice, beans and other items because people want to keep food in their homes before the elections.
He said their major challenge was where to get fresh supplies after selling their old stocks, adding that those who used to supply them are no more bringing yams and beans from the northern part of Nigeria.
He attributed it to the election which he observed was causing tension in the state and across the nation.
He said naturally, there has to be increase in the prices of food items because there is increase in demand and decrease in supply, adding that the situation was made worse because there was no place to get fresh supplies.
A foodstuff seller, Mathew Orebiyi, who confirmed the demand for the items at Ejigbo market, said he was not surprised at the development, adding that his only regret was that he did not have enough money to stock food items in his shop before the prices increased.
He said he had witnessed elections in Nigeria in the past, noting that what was happening now was not different.
According to him, during previous elections, panicky residents also stockpiled food in their homes.
Another food seller at Mushin market, Mrs Mary Adebimpe, said she had already finished her stock of beans and yams as her suppliers said they cannot travel to the North to buy until after the elections.
P.M.NEWS gathered that it was the same story across the states such as Ketu, Yaba, Ebute-Metta and Lagos Island.
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