Days after the celebration of the Eid-el Fitr, prices of food items is still on the increase in some major markets across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and its environs.
A survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday at Garki, Dei-Dei and IBB markets Abuja, Nyanya, Mararaba and Masaka Markets in Nasarawa, revealed that prices of food items had increased.
Many of the traders blamed the hike on the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in lockdown in many states of the federation where the commodities come to Abuja.
They said that the lockdown affected the farmers in transporting their produce to the market and also, most of the produce are seasonal.
Investigation revealed that the prices of different brands of a 20-litre of vegetable oil are sold for from N3, 000 to N32, 000, depending on the brand.
Similarly, a 25-litre of palm oil, which formerly cost N9, 000, is now selling for N10, 500; traders attributed the increase in palm oil price to the onset of the rainy season.
At these markets, the price of tomato had gone up, with a big basket of the commodity which sold for between N8, 000 and N10, 000 a week ago, now sells for N14, 000 as it was sold during Eid el-Fitr.
NAN observed that during the Eid el-Fitr, there were few baskets of tomatoes at the orange markets and the consumers were forced to buy at exorbitant prices by the middlemen.
Similarly, the biggest basket of bell pepper (Tatashe) had increased from N8, 000 to N12, 000, while a basket of long red pepper (chilly) now sells for N7, 000, as against the previous price of N5, 000.
A basket of Habanero/scotch bonnet pepper (atarodo) also went up to N12, 000 from its former price of N8, 500.
A jute bag of onion has increased similarly from N10, 000 to N14, 000 for the fresh ones, while the dried type of the commodity now goes for N18, 000 from N15, 000.
The survey further indicates that prices of different brands of food items such as rice and semolina remained the same.
NAN also observed that the markets are flooded with low quality rice even as 50 kilogramme of locally made rice now sells for an average of N22,000 from an initial N20,000.
The price of 10 kilogramme of Semovita is, however, constant at N3, 500.
A big bag of melon now sells for an average of N46, 000 from an initial N44, 800 before the celebration.
NAN reports that barely two months ago, a polythene bag of white gari (cassava flakes) was N8, 000, but the same measure of the commodity now attracts N14, 000, while the price of a medium measure of the flakes has increased from N120 to N200.
Also a measure of corn-flour, which was N250 a couple of weeks ago, now sells for N260, while a measure of cassava flour now cost N185, as against N160 before the Ramadan fasting.
The prices of iced fish in some cold rooms across the markets, mostly in Kado fish market and Masaka cold rooms have increased considerably; 20 kilogramme of chicken is selling for N11, 000 as against N9, 500.
Also at same markets frozen fish (Titus) is now N24,000 as against N 21,900.
Prices of other varieties of frozen fish has also gone up.
N4, 000 respectively.
Eggs across the markets are sold at N1, 000 or N1, 200 per crate, compared to the previous price of N800 or N900 per crate depending on the size.
The market survey also indicates significant increases in the prices of other food items such as yam, water yam, cocoa yam and potato but the price of sweet potato somewhat remains stable.
The price of the water yam species is on the increase a set of five tubers of water yam now sells for N4, 500, as against its former price of N3, 000.
A bag of Irish potato, which used to sell for N7, 000, now attracts prices ranging between N10, 000 and N10, 500.
NAN, however, noticed that the prices of other consumables such as beverages, sugar, milk, bread and noodles have remained stable in the last two months.
Most of the sellers at the markets who earlier attributed the increase in the prices of foodstuffs to the festivity are expressing concern on why the prices have not dropped unlike during other occasions, when prices of major food items dropped.
Mallam Gwandu, a tomato seller at the Orange Market, said there was nothing the traders could do, as the cost of transportation of these commodities had increased.
“We pay high price for the transportation and we stop at every checkpoint.
“All these added together will bring about an increase in the prices of the goods.
“It is so unfortunate that those officers at the check points are not keeping to government directives.
“Several times, many drivers of vehicles who refuse to give bribes are delayed.
“You can calculate how much a driver bringing tomatoes from Jigawa or pepper from Taraba will pay at every road block, before getting to Abuja.
“Bearing in mind that the drivers are carrying perishable items, the police will insist on delaying them.
“It’s a big problem leading to increase in prices,’’ he said.
Mrs Anike Adesola, a rice seller, noted that sales was very low, and attributed it to the effect of the lockdown.
She said, however, that the civil servants had been keeping the markets going.
“We thank the president for paying salaries as and when due, because it’s the civil servants that keep the markets going.
“They are now being paid regularly, it has given them the opportunity to buy,” she said.
Some truck drivers conveying these perishable goods to these markets said they paid heavily at the many checkpoints on their way to Abuja.
According to Malam Aminu Adams, one of the drivers, even though the movements of foodstuffss are given smooth travelling directive during the lockdown, the security bottlenecks along the interstate routes is a major problem.
“We pay what we never bargained for at road blocks, but their demand this time is outrageous.
“Most of the truck drivers are carrying perishable items, so, it has become a must to pay because when you argue with them, they may delay you and may lose the items.
“So, we have no choice than to do their bidding,’’ he said.
Edited By: Kayode Olaitan (NAN)
Vulture Day: NCF advocates Vulture Conservation
As the world marks the International Vulture Awareness Day, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) on Saturday underscored the importance of Vultures in the maintenance of balance in the ecosystem.
The NCF in a communique released after its five days webinar forum on Vultures and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, noted that vultures were sanitary officers with a clean-up service on the environment.
Dr Joseph Onoja, Director of Technical Programmes, NCF, in his presentation, revealed that nature had bestowed on humanity vultures with the role of environmental sanitary officers with a clean-up service worth $11,000 a year.
Onoja said: “Without vultures, humans are vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases, because in the absence of vultures, dogs and rats become the clean-up crew.
“’The danger in this is that these animals are not equipped for such and are close to human population, exposing us to diseases.”
In his presentation, Mr Aniekan-Abasi Emmah Uwatt, a conservation biologist and ornithologist, observed that human activities were the major drivers to the vultures’ threatened status.
He added that the world could suffer from negligence if something drastic was not done to preserve the remaining vulture species in Nigeria.
“Imagine a world without vultures, it will lead to disease outbreaks such as anthrax; rabies and botulism.
‘“We would also have dirty environment with dead carcasses and foul smells,” he said.
Another facilitator, Mr Apeverga Paul Tersoo, Lecturer, Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State , said that Vultures might not be very appealing by their looks, but these birds, also known as scavengers do the dirty jobs of cleaning our environment.
Tersoo said they do this by taking care of carcasses and preventing the spread of diseases, which in turn keeps the ecosystem healthy.
“’The importance of these natural environmental cleaners cannot be over emphasised because the benefits we derive from them for free will cost us so much that it can only be imagined.
“A case study is seen in India where a crash in the vulture population was observed after the birds fed on carcasses of livestock that were treated with Diclofenac.
“The Indian white-rumped vulture was the most hit, with a decline rate of 99.9 per cent.
“What followed was a surge in population of feral dogs that were infected with rabies from litters of carcasses as a result of the absence of our natural cleaners (the vultures).
“Consequently, an increase in human deaths from rabies nearly caused a public health catastrophe that saw the government of India spending about $34 billion to fight the spread of the disease,” he said.
Malam Samaila Mohammed Alkali, Airport Wildlife Hazard Management Coordinator, Kano Airport, said that aviation was a major threat to the survival of vultures.
“This is due to bird strike. Bird strikes occur when bird physically collide with aircraft,” Alkali said
According to him, approximately 10,692 vultures were killed by aircraft between 2008 and 2015, these may represent 1,500 Vultures killed every year for the period of seven years.
Meanwhile, in his presentation, Mr Adewale Awoyemi, Head of Forest Centre, Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan observed that the vanishing vultures had critical implications on human health and existence.
Awoyemi said that the destruction of their habitats by deforestation was a threat to vulture conservation.
International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD) is celebrated on the first Saturday of September every year to reflect on the importance of vultures and the essential role they play in a healthy ecosystem.
It also aims at spreading awareness about range of threat facing vultures and urge the people to take action and prevent extinction of the ecological bird specie.
Edited By: Peter Ejiofor)
NiMet predicts cloudiness, rains Sunday to Tuesday
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), has predicted cloudiness and rains from Sunday to Tuesday across the country.
NiMet`s weather outlook released on Saturday in Abuja predicted cloudy morning over the north on Sunday with prospects of isolated thunderstorms over Southern Borno, Adamawa and Taraba.
According to it, few thunderstorms are expected over Borno, Sokoto, Kebbi, Yobe, Bauchi, Taraba, Adamawa and Gombe state in the afternoon and evening hours.
“The north central is expected to be cloudy during the morning hours with chances of a few thunderstorms and rains over Abuja, Niger and Benue.
“ Later in the day, isolated thunderstorms and rains are expected to affect Kogi, Abuja, Kwara, Benue and Plateau.
“ Cloudy atmosphere is anticipated over the inland cities of the south west in the morning, while moderate rains are expected over parts of the southeast inland, like Abakaliki, Awka, Cross-River and Imo.
The agency forecast moderate rains over the coastal cities of the south to include the coastal part of Ondo state in the morning.
NiMet predicted few thunderstorms and rains over most parts of the inland with chances of moderate rains over the coastal parts of Cross-River, Akwa-Ibom, and Rivers state in the afternoon and evening periods.
According to NiMet, cloudy skies are anticipated over the north western flank in the morning of Monday with prospects of few thunderstorms over the northeast to affect southern Borno, Adamawa, Taraba and Yobe.
“Progressing into the day, pockets of thunderstorms are expected to affect parts of Yobe, Sokoto, Zamfara, Bauchi and Kebbi in the northwest, while a cloudy atmosphere should prevail over the north east.
“ The north central is expected to be dominated by cloudy atmosphere in the morning with prospects of isolated thunderstorms and rains over Plateau and Benue.
“ As the day progresses, pockets of thunderstorms are expected to affect parts of Abuja, Plateau, Kwara and Niger, “ it said.
It predicted the south to be dominated by cloudy atmosphere in the morning with chances of moderate rains over parts of the inland and coastal cities.
The agency envisaged moderate rains over most parts of the south later in the day.
According to NiMet, thunderstorms are expected to affect some places in the north, like Taraba, southern Sokoto, Gombe, Bauchi and Adamawa in the Tuesday`s morning.
The agency envisaged cloudy conditions over the north with chances of thunderstorms over Taraba in the afternoon and evening periods.
“Isolated thunderstorms and rains are expected to affect places in the north central region, like Niger, Abuja, Benue, Kwara and Kogi in the morning.
“ Later in the day, cloudy conditions are expected to dominate this region with prospects of isolated thunderstorms and rains over Niger and Kwara.
“Cloudy atmosphere is anticipated over most parts of inland of south with chances of moderate rains over Enugu in the morning.
“In the afternoon and evening periods, moderate rains are anticipated over most places, “ it sad.
Edited By: Felix Ajide
Nasarawa APC pass Vote of Confidence on Gov Sule
The Nasarawa State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has passed a vote of confidence on the administration of Gov. Abdullahi Sule.
Mr Philip Sheckwo, Chairman of the party in the state stated this at a news conference held in Lafia on Saturday.
Sheckwo said the decision was taken at an expanded party exco meeting held in Lafia on Friday, Sept. 18.
“The meeting unanimously passed a vote of confidence on his Excellency, Gov. Abdullahi Sule,’’ he said.
The state chairman added that the party at the meeting also lauded the leadership of the Governor for involving the party in his administration.
He said the party also expressed satisfaction with the tremendous strides the administration had achieved so far.
“In less than two years, he has made a lot of impact on the administration of the state. On the overall development of the state, he has also made a lot of impact.
“He has made a lot of impact in all sectors. We express our gratitude and encourage him to continue in that direction,’’ he said.
Sheckwo said the achievements and healthy relationship with the party convinced party members in the state to pass a vote of confidence on the admi9nistration.
He also explained that the party discussed vital issues that touched on the progress of the party in the state and also made an appraisal of the gains of the party so far.
“The meeting, in line with the constitution of the party, encouraged stakeholders at the state and local government levels to shun any individual interest that may seem to override that of the unity of the party.
“Stakeholders are encouraged to synergize with the party at various levels both at the ward, local government and state levels, in order to witness more progress for the party in the state,’’ he said.
According to Sheckwo, party stalwarts also acknowledged with gratitude the cordial relationship between Gov. Abdullahi Sule and his predecessor, Sen. Umaru Al-Makura, who currently represents Nasarawa South Senatorial District at the Senate.
He added that Gov. Abdullahi Sule, all State Executive Committee members, local government chairmen and their secretaries, were in attendance at the meeting.
Edited By: Idonije Obakhedo
COVID-19: NCDC announces 221 new cases, total infections rise to 56,956
The NCDC made this known on its official twitter handle on Friday.
According to it, the new cases are confirmed from 18 states in the country.
The new infections brought the total number of confirmed cases to 56,956 in Nigeria.
The public health agency said that Lagos had 59, the highest number of cases, followed by Abia with 46 cases and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), 22.
Among others were; Rivers, 11, Bauchi, 7, Benue, Ekiti and Imo, 6 each, Kaduna, Kwara and Ondo, 4 each, Ogun and Osun, 3 each, Bayelsa, Edo and Kano, 1 each.
According to it, those discharged on Friday include 100 community recoveries managed in Oyo State in line with new case management guidelines.
The health agency sadly recorded one more death, which brought the national death toll to 1,094.
It noted that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC) activated at Level 3 had continued to coordinate the national response activities across the country.
It cautioned that the risk of getting infected with COVID-19 was higher when people did not wear face mask in public places.
“Wear your face mask properly at all times. Adhere to all non-pharmaceutical preventive measures of COVID-19,” it urged Nigerians.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that as the people of Edo State prepared to vote their preferred candidates at the governorship election on Saturday, Sept. 19, NCDC urged all to observe the COVID-19 guidelines recently released.
It noted that relevant stakeholders must take actions that would reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 during the election.
“Ensure there is hand hygiene and temperature checks at the campaign ground, polling stations; providing additional polling stations or booths to ensure physical distancing, with clearly marked floors to enforce spacing on queues.
”Mandating the use of face mask for everyone, regular cleaning of polling stations, tables and other surfaces highly essential because those are the areas that are easy to contract the virus.
”Multiply hand-washing points or alcohol-based hand sanitiser, while staff at the polling units should practice hand hygiene frequently,.”
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu