Some residents of Ikorodu in Lagos State, have called for the prosecution of retailers deliberately hiking the prices of goods and services, exploiting the Covid-19 situation.
The residents who spoke in separate interviews on Wednesday, urged the federal and state governments to consider such persons as enemies of Nigeria and prosecute them.
According to them, business people who exploit the Corona virus pandemic to fleece citizens were unpatriotic; because times like these call 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.
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South African, on March 23, in a Monday night Presidential address, 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 500 ml hand sanitizer has 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 times particularly call 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.
Mr Thomas Osakwe, a banker who resides at the Odogunyan area of Ikorodu, said every Nigerian ought to support the fight against Covid- 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.
“The current state of affairs in Nigeria, and even globally, requires consideration for one another and not exploitation of the situation to make quick money.
The widespread panic buying and demands for face masks, hand sanitisers and other necessities to prevent infection with COVID-19 has made businesses to hike prices.
Also speaking, Mrs Aderonke Shittu, a forex trader at the Sabo Market, said the absence of an effective price control mechanism was to blame for the astronomical rise in prices of Corona virus prevention items.
Shittu said government needed to put in place measures to curtail hoarding, especially by importers and wholesalers.
“By now, Nigeria is still at the mercy of few individuals in all sectors of the economy that sit in their evil covens to cause inflation of prices on goods and services.
“The racketeers are also thriving unchecked as their activities cause legitimate businesses to incur costs which they transfer to the final consumers.
“Meanwhile, our country has a very poor record of arrest and prosecution of persons that instigate high costs of goods and services by subterfuge,” she said.