Traders in Kogi State took to the streets of Lokoja, the state capital, on Wednesday to stage a large-scale protest against the high cost of essential commodities across the state.
The market women and men expressed their frustrations over the skyrocketing prices of food items, which have significantly impacted their businesses. Many traders reported a decline in patronage as buyers are unable to afford the exorbitant costs.
One trader, Mrs. Ladi, who specializes in rice and beans, lamented the sharp increase in the prices of these commodities, which has severely affected her business capital and profitability. The cost of a “mudu” of rice, previously sold for N800, has now risen to N1,700 due to the substantial increase in the price of rice bags, from N35,000 to N65,000.
The traders called on the government to intervene by subsidizing locally produced commodities, expressing their weariness of low sales and the inability to generate profits. Despite the traders’ attempts to reduce prices and make concessions, poor patronage has become disheartening, leaving them uncertain about the outcome of their labor.
Mrs. Laruba, who sells palm oil, mentioned that the business is no longer profitable as she has to travel to Kogi East to purchase the commodity. However, when she factors in her expenses and deducts them from the selling price, buyers often feel dissatisfied.
Another trader, Mrs. Adah, who specializes in vegetables, urged the Federal Government to address the significant increase in the cost of food items. She highlighted that prices of pepper, rice, beans, and other items have all risen, and the government’s lack of assistance has worsened the situation. The traders pleaded for government intervention to reduce the prices of food items, as the current high costs have nearly eroded their profits, leaving them struggling to afford basic essentials.