Christian faithful in Ondo State will today join their counterparts all over the world to celebrate Good Friday.
Good Friday is significant in the life of Christians because it marks Christ's suffering, crucifixion and death. Activities that characterise Easter celebrations include Good Friday, Easter Eve/Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.
Already, the Federal Government has declared today and Monday April 17 as public holidays to celebrate Easter.
In Akure, the Ondo State capital as well as several other major cities in the state, activities to celebrate Easter celebrations is bereft of the usual fanfare and Easter carnivals where Christian faithful celebrate.
Yesterday, there were low patronage of goods and services at the major popular markets in the cities of Akure, Oka, Ikare, Okitipupa in Ondo State.
Market survey carried out at Shasha, Iloro and Erekesan markets all in Akure showed that there was generally low patronage of customers in all the markets unlike previous years.
This was attributed to the increase in the prices of food stuffs and paucity of fund occasioned by economic recession
According to a foodstuff seller at Oja-Oba, Alhaji Olatunji Abubakar, prices of rice, beans, yam and other goods are not stable. He said a bag of rice sells between N15,000 and N16,000 while a Congo sells for N550 to N600 naira depending on the brand while a bag of white beans is N30,000 and red beans is N32,000 respectively with a Congo sells for N450 or N550.
Also, in the market, Mr. Ugo Okechukwu who deals in the sales of frozen turkey, chicken said due to the increase in prices of frozen turkey and chicken, there was generally low patronage of the goods.
He affirmed that though Nigerian Naira is steadily appreciating against dollars, it has not prevented prices of goods .
A life chicken seller, Mrs. Eni Adeola lamented the high increase in the price of chicken which made people turn back on hearing the price.
She said a broiler is between N4,000 and N6,000, layers N1,600 and N1,800 while a cockerel is between N3,000 and N4,000 depending on its size.
At Iloro market, an onion seller, Alhaji Bada Akeem noted that a bag of onion sells for between N15,000 and N16,000. She said the price suppose to be lower during this period .
Mrs. Risikat Abiola who sells okro in the market posited that okro is very expensive at the moment which should not be so at this season.
"The worst part of it is that they are now using small sack to sell at the rate of N16,500 instead of using a big basket. This has greatly affected our gain, we make very little gain.
"I appeal to the government to intervene to alleviate peoples suffering as almost everything is expensive in the market," she said.
In a separate interview with Mrs Olusola Adigun and Mrs Wunmi Alake in Shasha market, they said a basket of tomatoes is now sold for N12,000 as at yesterday compared to N6,000 it was sold last month.
They equally informed that a small sac of small pepper and big pepper is between N7,000 to N12,000 respectively which made some customers to turn back saying that they can't afford it.
At Isikan market, Alhaji Bello Abubakar and Mrs Roseline Adeagboola, yam sellers, lamented the high cost of yam which makes them recorded low patronage.
They informed that tubers of yam ranges from N2,000 to N4,500 depending on their sizes.
At the market, according to Mrs Christy Obaloluwa, a carton of Titus fish and urobo sells for between N18,500 and N7,000 respectively.
She however said prices of fish are gradually coming down compared to N23,000 sold some months ago.
Mrs Idowu Ayeoba also disclosed that a 25 litres of vegetable oil is between N15,000 and N16,000 depending on the brand while the price of palm oil is not stable but as at now, 20 litres is N10,000 while a bottle is N300.
Meanwhile, those who are selling garri generally lamented the increase in the price as a rubber is now between N350 and N400 naira.
Provision sellers in all the markets visited equally complained on the high increase in prices of goods which has so much affected sales.
"Those who are buying in large quantity have reduced it while many customers are not patronizing them at all.
Meanwhile, buyers who spoke with our reporters in a separate interview, said. " During Easter period in the past there were be rush in all the markets, but everybody decided to cut their clothes according to size in order not to run into debt.
The customers who commended the governor of the state, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu for paying workers salaries since assumption of office however appealed to him to pay the back-log for things to change for the better.
Report from Oka Akoko, the headquarters of AKSW LG said that sales of commodities is at its low ebb as it was unexpected for Easter celebration.
Abubakar Sidikat a fowl seller said people are not patronizing the market as expected, she said she has only sold two fowls when The Hope interviewed her and that the price is according to the weight of the fowl, the smallest is N3,500, but she said they are not even buying instead they go for ponmo fish and Jeki (donkey meat).
Mr Suliat Taibat – A ponmo seller lamented that they are not even buying the ponmo. She said it is because the price of ponmo was also costly. A bag which earlier cost N25,000 to N35,000 is now sold for N65,000. This made them not to buy ponmo because one good ponmo is now between N500 and N600. She said a woman coming to the market with N1000, can not afford to buy ponmo worth of N500 what will she buy with the remaining N400.
They decided to be buying the broken or remnant from the real ponmo that we put together as N100.
Another seller – A pepper seller, Mrs Oluwaseyi lamented that tomatoes is costly that a basket cost N11,000 and they go to Akure to buy, so with their transport fare is about N12,000, thereby disallow or disturb people from buying, she said that a woman just left now because tomatoes is costly she decided to go for (obe ewe) that will not cost her much.
A palm oil seller said, palm oil was sold at Iwaro Oka yesterday for N9,500 per keg and today at Oke-Oka market, they are selling a keg for N10,500.