Christians residing in Zamfara State have raised alarm over the rapid increase in the prices of foodstuff in the state especially chicken, goat and other food items in the market due to the Easter season, a development traders blamed on armed banditry rocking the state.
A market survey conducted by DAILY POST in Gusau, the state capital and some urban areas in the state shows that a medium-sized chicken that used to be sold for between N1000 and N1200 now goes for between N2000 and N2500 per one.
Similarly, a basket of tomatoes that used to sell for between N1500 and N2000 some weeks ago before now goes for between N3500 and N4000 in the markets.
Alhaji Mande Tanko, one of the major chicken dealers in Gusau market, blamed the hike on the insecurity situation in the state, saying that most of the professional farmers no longer participate in farming activities due to terror attacks rocking the entire state.
“Most rural areas have been deserted considering the attacks in their communities and the destruction of most of their farmlands.
He added, “Many of them are now internally displaced persons (IDPs) while some of the women who lost their husbands during terror attacks have carried their children to Gusau and other urban areas as professional beggars in order to survive,” he lamented.
According to him, all the chickens they are selling now were bought at a very high rate from the surviving villagers just to get something doing for a living.
Speaking further, Tanko noted that under normal circumstances, it was expected that around this period essential varieties should be in the markets and at a cheaper rate for everybody to enjoy his or her religious obligations.
Continuing, Tanko said that most buyers have been lamenting the hike in the prices of the commodities which he said has even affected his purchasing power, stressing that he used to buy between one to two hundred chickens every month, but could not purchase up to half of what he used to buy due to the armed banditry in the state.
He lamented that his fear was how his numerous customers could bear with him over the price hike more so in this festive season especially when the state workers would be having a bleak Easter as a result of not receiving their April salaries and allowances.
Another dealer from Kaura Namoda, Alhaji Ibrahim Kaura said he could only buy twenty chickens for the festival and has not sold up to half of what he bought.
Kaura quickly added that he won’t blame the farmers for the hike as he said they are running away from the communities and businesses for the sake of protecting their lives from the armed bandits and kidnappers in the state which he said contributed to the price hike.
Our correspondent, who went round some of the notable markets within Gusau and other notable markets in the state, reports that most of the Christians resorted to buying beef instead of traditional chickens and goat meat used for such Christian festival.
However, it is believed that Zamfara state has up to 99 per cent Muslims while Christians in the States are mainly non-indegines working or doing their businesses in the state.