By Sunday Aloba, Ado-Ekiti
Some residents of Ado Ekiti were seen scrambling for foodstuffs when the Iyaloja of the town, Mrs. Waye Oso, stormed the major markets to dispense foodstuffs to customers at reduced prices.
Some of the markets raided by Oso and her team included the Erekesan, Bisi Egbeyemi and Okesa in a bid to save residents from shylock traders selling commodities at outrageous prices.
The market leader had on November 29 commenced the exercise in which thousands of residents bought commodities like garri, local rice and other cereals, pepper, okro, locust beans and palm oil at cheaper rates.
She expressed outrage at the attitude of market women especially those selling foodstuffs for indiscriminately increasing prices which has imposed hardship on the common man.
Oso arrived Bisi Market at about 10.00 am on Wednesday and headed straight to some shops and ordered the sacks of garri be brought out which she was personally dispensing to consumers.
She sold a Kongo of garri at N100 as against the normal price of N200 to the admiration of buyers in the market.
As soon as the Iyaloja began selling garri, a long queue of buyers lined up to benefit from the largesse defying the scorching sun.
She was assisted to sell the commodity by some officers of Ekiti State Traffic Management Agency (EKSTMA) deployed to control traffic at the market and other members of Market Women Association.
Palm oil sellers, who had apparently gotten wind of the Iyaloja’s action in the market, did not open their stalls for business so that their commodity will not be sold at cheaper rate as witnessed during the last raid.
As soon as Mrs. Oso finished selling each bag, she hands over the money realized to the owner.
The consumers willing to benefit grew in numbers as the day wore on with the EKSTMA men finding it difficult to control.
Some street urchins capitalized on the crowd to steal valuables as one of the buyers raised alarm that her purse containing a mobile phone and money had ‘disappeared.
The Iyaloja said the market raid would continue until all traders in the town reduce the prices of commodities especially foodstuffs.
Mrs. Oso said: “We are determined to continue with this action because we are doing it in the interest of the common man. Food prices must go down in Ado Ekiti because people are suffering and we don’t want our people to die of hunger.
“Foodstuffs like garri, grains, palm oil, vegetable oil and other consumables must come down so that poor people can feed. Traders must have mercy on the poor because fingers are not equal, market is both for the rich and the poor.
“We don’t want our traders to give Ado bad name and we want to discourage traders from villages from abandoning their places to sell at exorbitant prices in Ado. Some people are already saying that Ado is the most expensive state capital in the Southwest and we want the trend reversed.”