Benin — Traders in Benin have decried the low patronage of food items in the markets by customers less than 24 hours to Christmas.
Some of the traders who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on Tuesday attributed the low sales to non-payment of December salaries to workers in the Edo state.
Mrs Osaremen Iyamu, a rice seller told NAN that customers had refused to buy her food stuff even when there was no increase in price.
"We are begging customers to buy from us; they keep saying no money, that they have not been paid their December salary.
"We are appealing to the state government to pay workers so that we will enjoy sales," Iyamu said.
Mr Tony Osunde, a worker in the state Ministry of Health said that the situation was pathetic.
He said that he had to borrow some money from a cooperative to buy new clothes for his children.
"I have already budgeted part of my December salary for the Christmas and New Year celebrations. But the salary is yet to be paid.
"We are hoping that we will receive our salaries before Jan 2014 so that we will use it for the New Year celebrations," Osunde said.
Checks at Ikpoba Hill and Oba markets in Benin showed that the prices of frozen chicken and turkey, garri, and onions have gone down.
Prices of melon, beans, pepper, yams and rice remained stable.
While prices of tomatoes, groundnut oil, palm oil, canned tomatoes, fruits and vegetables went up.
The survey revealed that prices of a carton of chicken and turkey now sell for N9, 000 and N10, 000, respectively as against N11, 000 and N12, 000. (NAN)