By signaturetv.org Correspondent, Obiora Ani in Abuja.
There was scramble for foodstuff, medicaments and other essentials in the various markets in Abuja and its environs on Monday as residents make last minute purchases to beat the 11 P.M. deadline for total lockdown in the capital city.
Following the Presidential broadcast on Sunday evening, residents were out in the streets as early as 7 A. M. Local time. Banks and some other mortgage institutions were besieged by customers who wanted to withdraw and make purchases for items that will last for at least a forth night.
Many of the commercial banks ran out of cash and funds were rationed to customers, some of who were give about half of what they requested for.
” This is unbelievable. Am just being given N50, 000 (Fifty Thousand Naira) of N150,000 (One Hundred and fifty Thousand Naira) I wanted to withdraw. It’s my money, what can I buy with this,” Uchenna Nwokeabia, a customer in a bank in the Central Business District lamented.
“What we’re doing is to make sure that at least everyone who comes to the bank today goes home with something. President Buhari’s announcement was sudden and you see, bank workers are not included among those on essential service. It’s quite unfortunate,” a bank official who refused to say his name explained to a long queue at the GT bank in Area 3, Garki.
Long lines of customers waiting to withdraw money was visible in all the bank branches in Areas, 1, 3 and 8 Garki, Central Business District, Wuse Zones 1, 4, 5, Mabuchi, and the commercial banks along Wuse 2, Maitama and Asokoro areas of Abuja.
In some of the satellite towns notably Kubwa, Bwari, Nyanya, Karu, Mpape, Kuje, Gwagwalada, Zuba, closed to customers at about 1 o’clock in the afternoon.
“We joined the line at about 10 o’clock this morning and before we got close to the gate, we were told that the bank officials have ordered that they shut the bank. It’s just some minutes to 1 o’clock. Even their ATMs are not working. What do they want us to do, go home and die,” Ahmed Musa said in faltering pidgin.
The markets were something else. Prices of edibles and medicaments went beyond the reach of the ordinary. At the popular Monday Market in Garki 11, a twenty five kg of local rice sold at about N20, 000. A tuber of yam cost about N1000, while five tubers sold for about N6000.
Vegetables and some other perishables were virtually non existent at the Monday Market. Other markets in Wuye, Zone 4, and neighborhood markets in Areas 1, 2, and the UTC in Area 10 sold out the food items as at 2 P.M.
Nearby markets in Nyanya, Airport road, the orange market in Nyanya, Kubwa, Mpape, Karmo and Zuba also exhausted their goods shortly before evening.
Signaturetv. org correspondents who went round Abuja and the satellite cities observed that prices of edibles and simple medicines as vitamin C went over 100% of their initial costs.
Following the Sunday evening broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari, Abuja and Lagos locked down from 11 P.M. Monday while Ogun Lockdown takes effect Friday at 11 pm as a result of discussions between Ogun State Government and the Federal Government.