Some youths, on Monday, clashed with foodstuff traders in both Igbudu and Effurun markets in Warri and Uvwie local government areas of Delta State over the increase in prices of foodstuffs in the markets.
The Delta State government, it will be recalled, had last week, announced a planned lockdown from Wednesday, April 1, as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, in a state broadcast last Thursday, announced the immediate closure of the Asaba Airport which was followed up by land and sea borders’ closure last Sunday by 6:00 a.m.
“All businesses – malls, supermarkets, markets and shops – are to close from Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
“All residents in the state are to stay at home from Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
“Food sellers are to conduct their businesses within the precinct of their homes and are required to strictly adhere to the social distancing rules.
“Deltans are advised that there will be increased security presence on the streets and land borders to ensure strict compliance with these directives,” the governor had directed.
But in a bid to beat the deadline ahead of the lockdown by stocking their homes with foodstuffs, residents who headed for markets met an increase in prices of foodstuffs on Monday, in some cases, up to fourfold increase.
For instance, a paint-bucket of gari, a major staple food, which was usually sold for between N400 and N500, was jacked up to between N1,500 and N2,000.
The same experience happened the Effurun Market, on Monday, but met with stiff resistance from youths in Uvwie.
It was gathered that angered by the increase in prices of foodstuffs, the youths mobilised themselves and invaded the market, forcing the sellers to reduce the prices of the foodstuffs.
For traders who refused to obey, witnesses said their goods were confiscated by the youths, while in some cases, their wares were destroyed.