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Economic Hardship: Fresh protests rock Niger, Kogi states over high inflation, cost of living

Protesters in Lokoja, Kogi State Capital

*Residents of Suleja, a town in Niger State, and traders in Lokoja, Kogi State capital, Wednesday, February 7 hit the streets to express their displeasure over the current socio-economic hardship affecting their businesses and several millions of Nigerian consumers

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Barely days after the first round demonstrations over high inflationary trend and attendant cost of living in Minna, Niger State capital, residents of Suleja in the same state, again, Wednesday, February 7, 2024, hit the streets to express their displeasure over the current socio-economic hardship among several millions Nigerian consumers.

Suleja is a town located a few Kilometres away from Abuja, FCT.

ConsumerConnect reports that Wednesday’s protests, during which participants carried placards with different descriptions, were an adjunct to the earlier demonstration organised by concerned consumers held Monday, in Minna.

Women and youths protesting over high cost of living in Minna, Niger State

The previous protests had witnessed the participation of more women and youths over the state of the country’s economy, as it affected the residents of the state, reports said.

Women and youths in their numbers took to the street and blocked the Kpagungu axis of Minna-Bida Road in the Niger State capital city on Monday, protesting against hunger and the high cost of living.

The women, carrying a placard with the inscription “No food, we are dying of hunger”, demanded a better condition of living and a reduction in the cost of living for the citizenry.

They accused especially political officeholders of insensitivity to their plight as they lamented their inability to feed even once a day.

Besides, the Monday protests caused much traffic gridlock on the ever-busy Minna-Bida Road, which is a link road to the South-Western part of the country from the North-Central.

‘Nigerians are suffering, Stop the hardship now,’ say protesters

Mr. Yazid Abubakar, an eye witness commenting on Wednesday’s protest, told Channels TV on telephone, that the protesters stormed the popular Moroko Road where the biggest market is located in the town.

The protesters, again, as they demonstrated Monday, also carried placards with various inscriptions, including “Leadership is all about improving the life of the masses,” and “Nigerians are suffering, stop the hardship now,” among others.

In connection with the turn of events in the state Monday this week, the Niger State Police Command had clamped down on 25 protesters.

On Wednesday also, Wasiu Abiodun, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Niger State, confirmed the arrest of certain Aisha Jibrin, the initiator of the protests on Monday, in Minna, and 24 other suspects.

The earlier round of protests was said to have forced President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to direct intervention to check food shortage in the West African country.

Protests erupt in Kogi over high inflation, unease in economy

In a related development, hundreds of traders in Lokoja, Kogi State capital, trooped out Wednesday to protest against the high costs of essential commodities across the state.

ConsumerConnect learnt the traders, mainly market men and women, lamented the soaring prices of food items, which they said had affected patronage from most consumers.

Mrs. Ladi, a trader who deals in rice and beans, said the sharp increases in the costs of the commodities had affected her business capital as sales were low.

The trader said that she could hardly make profit after trading.

Concerned traders seek commodities subsidy to address low sales

In regard to her experience with the new wave of low patronage from consumers, Mrs. Ladi stated: “Mudu of rice which was selling for N800 now costs N1,700. This is because a bag of rice which cost N35,000 has now increased to N65,000. With this, we cannot make our own profit.

“This is the reason we are calling on the government to come to our aid by subsidising commodities grown in Nigeria. We are tired of low sales,” she told  Nigerian Tribune.

Another trader reportedly lamented that despite efforts by traders to make some profits on goods, poor patronage had become discouraging.

She also lamented that “there is nothing to show for our efforts in terms of expected gains or profit. We are only praying that our labour should not be in vain at the close of trading activities.”

Mrs. Laruba, who sells palm oil, lamented that she usually travels to Kogi East to purchase the commodity.

However, the trader expressed regrets that the business is no longer profitable.

According to Laruba, by the time she calculated her expenses and subtracted the same from the cost of the items, buyers often felt cheated.

In her remarks on the current comparatively low sales, certain Mrs. Adah, a vegetable trader, also urged the Federal Government to address the astronomical increase in the costs of food items in Nigeria.

“Prices of pepper, rice, beans among others have all gone up and the hike in price cut across every item.

“To worsen the situation, the government is not helping matters.

“We are pleading with the government to assist us with a view to ensuring the reduction in the price of food items.

“We are only managing to eat. The hike in price of commodities has almost eroded our profit,” stated the trader.

Report as well indicated that visits to some markets in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, showed most traders had closed shop as consumers no longer patronised them due to the exorbitant costs of commodities in the market place.

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