The economic child of post election violence in northern Nigeria | Fola Daniel Adelesi, ASM
After the presidential election that made Goodluck Ebele Jonathan the President elect in April 2011, we got an irrational reaction from the northerners and the reasons for the reactions in some ways are very clear. It was a case of religious division and tribal inclination which is an unfortunate incidence in the twenty first century. Young men and women who signed up to serve their countries under the national youth service corps scheme (NYSC) were slain by the protesters who were aggrieved because of the election results that did not favour their hero, General Muhamadu Buhari.
The pages of the news papers have all the rest of the news but there is something new that they may not have brought to your attention. I was in Sokoto, the seat of the caliphate, when the crisis started and found my way to Lagos almost immediately, at least to put at rest the minds of loved ones and relatives who would not rest because of the news all over the television. I returned to Sokoto to complete my unfinished business after I was certain that everywhere was already calm but with several uniformed men littering the street to deal with any miscreant.
What came up was that prices of some products all of a sudden sky rocketed and some other products were just not available. For more than two weeks now, the cocacola products have been very scarce and wherever they were found, the vendors sold at almost double the normal prices. This anomaly extended to the sale of sachet water and it obviously affected the availability of water bottles for dispensers. Just some minutes before the crisis, you wouldnt have to go a long distance to get these products already mentioned and they were well refrigerated in order to have that business edge over other vendors on the street. Amazingly, petrol now sells for a N100 per litre in the state. The implication of that is to be properly interpreted by commuters who have to board commercial motorcycles on daily basis and drivers who have to put their cars on the road to get their businesses done.
When I asked questions, I discovered a few things that revealed the reason behind the scarcity of some of the products and the increase in the price of others. A number of the products that were sold in Sokoto were brought in from Kaduna and Kano and, unfortunately, these places were hot spots during the crisis so wholesalers who were delivering goods did not move as freely as they used to. I also think that the fear of commercial bus drivers is worth the mention in a situation like this. At some point, the drivers in other parts of the country did not want to come to the northern part and there were those who had serious business to do here even when they knew that the tension had been doused. At least for a while, these people were stranded and were at the mercy of the slowly-regained-confidence of these drivers.
The interesting part of this economic situation now is that the products or the goods being sold cannot differentiate between those who were involved in the crisis and those who were not. Everyone is paying for it, especially those who took to the streets to burn houses and kill people before remembering that they were at least blessed with a brain that could be used to reason before acting.
Fola Daniel Adelesi, ASM, ACL, Wcc
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