By Eseoghene Emuke & Onome Oghenetega
There was pandemonium on Monday morning when youths stormed some markets in Warri, Uvwie and Udu areas of Delta State to force traders to reduce prices commodities over the lockdown declared by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
Prices of commodities especially garri, rice, beans and yam have reportedly skyrocketed over panic buying by residents of the state ahead of the lockdown in the state beginning on Wednesday April 1, 2020.
Delta is among the states yet to record any case of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our correspondents who visited some of the markets including Igbudu market, Effurun market, Obogo market, Agbarho market and Ughelli markets also observed increase in prices of noodles, rice, beans, oil, meat, fish and other commodities.
Findings by NIGER DELTA TODAY Online revealed that basket of garri which sold between N750 and N800 as at Wednesday last week is now being sold between N1500 to N2500 in most markets in Warri, Effurun, Udu and Ughelli.
A tuber of yam which was sold for N600 is now being sold between N1,200 to N1,300 while the small pack of noodle costing N1,900 is now selling for N2,500 in all the markets visited on Monday morning.
A basket of beans sold for N650 is now costing 1200.
The prices of pepper, meat, fish, live birds (chicken) have also gone up.
However, irked by the development, some youths invaded the popular Effurun market where they beat up some traders asking them to sell food stuff especially garri which the popular food among residents at the old prices before the outbreak of Coronavirus in Nigeria.
The situation was same at the popular Obogo market in Udu area of the state where a group of youths invaded traders’ shops forcing them to revert to the old prices.
At the Igbudu market, one of the biggest markets in Warri, youths and security agencies halted businesses in the market over the hike in prices of food stuff by traders.
Youths also mobilized to Agbarho market to ensure traders reverted to old prices.
One of our reporters who observed the situation at Obogo reports that the traders immediately reverted to the old to avoid the anger of the youths who were ready to destroy their property.
Meanwhile, transportation fare across the state had also gone up with commercial transporters charging N100 for distances formerly costing N50.
“I paid N300 from Effurun Roundabout to Ughelli this morning. It was usually N200 before now. I also learnt that from Effurun to Sapele is now N800 to N1000”, a road user told one of our reporters on Monday.