Nigerians groan under first christmas under Tinubu

As the Christmas festivities approach, traders across various markets are grappling with dismayingly low patronage, attributed to soaring prices that have reached unprecedented levels, notably with a bag of rice now hitting a staggering N70,000.


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Marketplaces that usually bustle with pre-Christmas activity wear a deserted look this year. Traders, eagerly anticipating the traditional surge in sales, instead find themselves with abundant goods but limited buyers.

The staple food, rice, essential for many festive meals, has seen an astronomical price hike, marking a stark 160% increase since May. This steep incline has significantly impacted buyers’ purchasing power, resulting in a sharp decline in demand for the commodity.

Expressions of frustration and concern were evident among sellers.

Tomato trader Iyabo Taiwo revealed a sharp decline in sales, citing minimal customer turnout compared to previous years.

“Years back, some customers would buy up to a quarter basket, or from N5,000 above, but lately, they buy between N500 and N2000, thereby slowing down sales. I’m supposed to have gone back to Mile 12 for another round, but I have to finish these so it doesn’t spoil,” she told The Guardian.

Similarly, Abubakar Yusuf, a rice seller, noted a considerable drop in demand this year.

He said: “I struggled to meet up with 35 per cent sales compared to last year. Usually, the demand for rice increases during the festive period, but this was not the case this Christmas.”

A civil servant, Amos Bassey, who had come to purchase a live Chicken for his family, said upon hearing the price, he had to resort to buying beef as the price was far beyond what he had budgeted for.

“My son had longed for Christmas chicken because I used to buy live one, but when I heard the price, I had to switch over to cow meat. I told myself that if we must survive, the issue of buying chicken, rice and clothing won’t be a priority.

“First, as long as my family and I can eat twice daily, we are content. I cannot kill myself for a day or two celebrations,” he said.

This year’s Christmas shopping has deviated significantly from the norm, with many Nigerians forced to reassess their spending due to the unprecedented surge in prices, particularly of essential food items.

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