Residents of Ikorodu in Lagos State have called for the prosecution of retailers deliberately hiking prices of goods and services, thereby, exploiting the COVID-19 situation.
The residents who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria, in separate interviews on Wednesday, urged the Federal and State Governments to consider such persons as enemies of Nigeria and prosecute them immediately.
According to them, business people who exploit the Coronavirus pandemic to fleece citizens were unpatriotic; because times like these calls for solidarity and nationalism.
The respondents added that every business outfit in the country needed to ensure that Nigerians did not suffer artificial rise in cost of goods and services at this difficult time.
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, in a presidential address on March 23, said businesses that exploited consumers by raising cost would be prosecuted.
Ramaphosa rather called for solidarity from companies and retailers by maintaining cost of their services and commodities to discourage inflation and panic buying in the country.
Meanwhile, a survey shows that prices of face mask has gone up from N50 to N200, a 500ml hand sanitiser had risen from N500 to more than N3000, and cost of Ogogoro and other alcohol-based products have also risen by 200 per cent in major cities in Nigeria.
A parish priest of Archangel Catholic Church Agbede, Ikorodu, Rev Fr. Innocent Chiamaka, said that those who exploited the pandemic to cause inflation were being inhuman and ungodly.
”We are still in the Lenten time where love for one another should reign over personal interest, desires or profit.
”The period particularly calls for food-stuff sellers, pharmaceutical stores and transporters, to show love to fellow countrymen and women by making their services and wares affordable,” he said.
Chiamaka, however, said failure to stop unnecessary exploitation of ordinary Nigerians would indicate failure of governance in Nigeria.
A banker, Thomas Osakwe who resides at the Odogunyan area of Ikorodu, said every Nigerian ought to support the fight against Convid-19 in their own way.
“It amounts to a crime against humanity to sell items like face masks and hand gloves, necessary in curbing Corona virus spread, at exorbitant prices.