By Jethro lbileke
Residents of Benin, capital of Edo State, flocked to major markets in the city, to purchase staple foods items like rice, oil, tomatoes, for their respective households.
The rush might not be unconnected with a possible lockdown by the state government, to avert possible speed of coronavirus.
This is even as the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said that only markets where essential commodities like foodstuffs are sold should remain open for now.
The Governor said this on Tuesday, during the inauguration of the Edo State COVID-19 Response Committee.
When our correspondent visited Oba, Mission Road and New Benin markets, thousands of people were seen buying mostly food items.
The rush, however, did not have a significant impact on prices of goods.
Fifty kg of foreign rice was sold for N28,000, as against N25,000 it previously sold; while locally grown rice which used to sell for N18,000 now sells for N20,000.
Price of a carton of noodles also slightly jerked up from N3,100 now sells for N3,250.
One of the buyers who spoke on condition of anonymity said fear of the unknown is driving them to engage in panic buying.
“We are preparing for life during and after the disease. You can see the government has shut down schools and some offices, who knows, market places maybe the next,” she said.
Meanwhile, Governor Obaseki said that if the federal government does not make any decision before the meeting of the Edo State COVID-19 Response Committee on Friday, the state government might contemplate a total lockdown of the state.
He also announced a downward review of crowd allowed in public places from 50 to 20.
Obaseki said “We are reducing the number of persons allowed to gather in public places from 50 to 20 persons. Also, only markets where essential commodities like foodstuffs are sold should remain open for now.”