Nigerians are now feeling the pains arising from the border closure as the prices of staple foods such as rice, frozen foods and others continue to witness an increase of up to 65 per cent.
Some of the prices of the food items that come from the land borders, especially the Republic of Benin, have increased astronomically, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
According to Legit.ng, Nigerians are feeling the pangs of the border closure as the price of a bag of rice that was sold around N12,000 before now sells around N20,000 to N22,000.
Also, a carton of frozen food (Orobo Chicken) that sold before at the rate of N7,000 to N7,500 now sells for N12,000 to N13,000.
To Nigerians, these foods are essential to their survival because they are consumed in large quantities which necessitated their large importation.
A rice retailer, Mama Ibrahim at Ketu Market in Lagos, lamented the absence of the locally-produced rice which was the reason borders were shut, adding that they were not available.
She said: “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.
“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 kept on increasing.”
Idowu Kalejaiye said that the pains that arose from the border closure were much more than what the citizen could afford.
He said: “Prices of food items have gone up without any commensurate increase in our salaries which has never been enough.
“Government should have considered making the alternatives available in abundance before closing the borders which has resulted into cutting off food supply.
“The claims that we are rice sufficient have been defeated because after the border closure, not only that we have shortage in supply but the prices of the locally-produced rice have gone up.
“If we are self-sufficient in rice production as claimed, we should by now be exporting the product to other countries.”
A major supplier of frozen food, Segun Abdulahi, said that the border closure had affected sale of the food items.
He said: “I think many have now found alternative to frozen foods because of the price increase. Even some of the varieties of fishes that are low in prices don’t enjoy much patronage again.
“Although there are high demands for some variety, we have low demand for items like turkey and Sardines because of the relative price increase.
“To be frank, frozen foods are scarce in the market now. Only few of us that have it in stock increased the prices, so, maybe some of the customers don’t have a choice but to buy.”
Meanwhile, report had it that the closure of Nigeria’s land borders aimed at curbing smuggling activities, especially of rice, took a toll on rice-exporting countries.
The price of the commodity dipped by a joint 46 percent in one month in countries like Thailand and India.