THERE was drama as well as confusion in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital on Tuesday, when the Iyaloja, Chief Omowaye Oso, led a task force that went round some markets in the town to force down’ prices of foodstuff on sale considered to be high.
Chief Oso’s team were at the Bisi Egbeyemi Market at Okeyinmi where she ordered a drastic reduction of prices of goods, especially food stuff, which she personally sold to buyers who accused of selling at cut-throat prices on the excuse of the appreciation of the American dollar.
Some of the commodities, which prices were reduced on the orders of the Iyaloja included garri, local rice popularly known as “Buhari rice” and palm oil.
A measure of garri, which sold for N200 was reduced to N100, 20 litters of palm oil sold for N22,000 was reduced to N15,000 while a measure of local rice was sold at the market at N400 as against N500.
The Iyaloja who is also the president of the market women associations in the state said she had ordered that the small measure of okro and locust beans be sold at N20 as against N50.
Mrs Oso said the raid would be a continuous exercise as she and her team enjoy the backing of the state government and the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe, whom she said are also concerned about the exorbitant prices of goods and service in the town.
She said: “The cost of goods especially foodstuff is too high in Ado Ekiti and it is the state capital that prices of goods and services should be the cheapest. The market women should have mercy on the poor because things are too expensive here unlike other Ekiti towns and villages.
“It is very unfortunate that market women in other communities don’t want to sell in their places; they bring their wares to Ado because they believe they will sell it twice the price of what they suppose to sell it in their communities.
“As the Iyaloja, one of my responsibilities is that people don’t buy at cut-throat prices and we have the support of the state government, the Ewi and his chiefs in carry out this exercise, which will be a continuous one and be repeated in all markets in Ado.
“It is unfortunate that 20 litters of palm oil, which sells at N14,000 in Ikole is being sold at N22,000 in Ado, but we have sold it at N15,000 now as against the N22,000 they hitherto sell it. The Kabiyesi has said he does not want hardship for the people of Ado.
“We have forced down the price of a rubber of local rice from N500 to N400, garri from N200 to N100. Ado is now getting a bad reputation for high prices of goods and services but we will not allow this to continue.
“We will continue to carry out our raids until our market women comply and anyone who cannot comply must look elsewhere to sell her wares. If you can’t sell your palm oil at lower prices don’t bring it down to Ado again.”
Buyers at the market and other residents commend the market raid, which they believe will save poor people who are struggling to survive.
Mrs Adijat Oni said: “This raid is a good one because we had thought that the Ado market women are untouchable because they are notorious for selling at prices beyond the rash of the common man who is very hungry.”
Mrs Oluwakemi Adepoju said: “For us in Ado Ekiti, this is a good development, we want Iyaloja to go to all cold rooms where fish are being sold and those selling imported rice to force down the prices. We are expecting them in five days time.”