The effect of Nigeria's border closure is telling on residents of Kaduna as food prices skyrocket.
Kaduna residents have lamented as they feel the pains arising from the border closure as the prices of food stuff, such as rice, frozen foods and others continue to witness an increase of up to 50 per cent.
Recall that the Federal Government had closed its borders since Aug. 19 in an operation tagged: Ex-Swift Response.
The joint-border closure is meant to check the smuggling of goods into the country, as it’s being supervised by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Police and military personnel and coordinated by the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
But adding more pain to already hardship being experienced by lots of Nigerians, the prices of some food items from the land borders, especially the Republic of Benin have increased astronomically.
Already, the president had vehemently said that, ” activities of the smugglers have continued to threaten the self-sufficiency already attained due to the administration’s agricultural policies.
“Now that our people in the rural areas are going back to their farms, and the country has saved huge sums of money which would have otherwise been expended on importing rice using our scarce foreign reserves.
“We cannot allow smuggling of the product at such alarming proportions to continue,’’ he had said.
A DailyPost reporter who went round Kaduna town early Tuesday discovered that, “a bag of rice that was sold around N12, 000 before now sells around N20,000 to N22,000.
Besides, a carton of frozen food (Orobo Chicken) that was sold before at the rate of N7,000 to N7,500 now sells for N12,000 to N13,000.
For every household in Kaduna city, these foods are essential to their survival because they are consumed in large quantity which necessitated their large importation.
A rice retailer, in Kakuri Market Kaduna, Alhaji Madugu Ibrahim lamented the absence of the locally produced rice which was the reason borders were shut, adding that they were not available.
“The local rice is nowhere to be found because they cannot go round. Nigerians eat rice a lot; it is the most consumed food item in the country after bread.
According to him, “The Federal Government should have ensured self-sufficiency in rice before closing the borders. If the local rice is available, there won’t be any increase in the price in the market.
“We have been battling with the price of the local rice because since the borders were shut, the price keeps on increasing,’’ he said.
Another wholesaler, Mr Idomiajoki Kaleja said the pains that arose from the border closure were much more than what the citizen could afford.
According to him, majority of Nigerians are unemployed. They could not afford the cost of food stuff in the market.
He appealed to the federal government to rescind its decision on closure of boarder.
”Unemployment has been on the increase. Most people have noting to show for it. If you don’t have job, you must surely eat. But the means is no longer there.
” What do you expect somebody who does not have job, but is hungry for food to do?
“You are indirectly telling him/her to go and steal. Remember, once you steal, and caught, your punishment will be greater,” he added.
According to him, high rate of kidnapping, assassin, and vices in the country were largely due to lack of jobs.