Mixed reactions have continued to trail this year’s Christmas celebration in the FCT, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
In a survey by NAN on Sunday in Abuja, many FCT residents complained of cash crunch due to the uncertainty of payment of salaries and unending queues at filling stations.
The respondents said that the lack of disposable cash, had led to poor patronage of traders of goods and services.
NAN reports that festive seasons such as Christmas, among others, are usually characterised by massive shopping by consumers.
However, some respondents say the situation is not “terrible’’ as being painted as according to them, “the season is like every other year’’.
Mr Maje Arinola told NAN that in his 15 years of living in the FCT, this will be the first Christmas that he could not travel to his state to celebrate with other family members.
Arinola said that lack of money was the reason for this.
He said that he could barely provide for the Christmas needs of his nuclear family in Abuja let alone bearing the expenses of travelling.
“I work with a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Health and till date, we have not been paid salary for November let alone December.
“Without a means to celebrate Christmas, there is no reason to be happy,’’ he said.
Similarly, Mrs Grace Ugwu, a businesswoman at Wuse Market, Abuja, also complained of low patronage compared to previous years.
Ugwu said that people buy a few things of importance and not in quantum as in previous years.
Tailors were not left out of the complaints, as evidenced by Miss Taiwo Johnson’s expression.
Johnson told NAN that tailors always looked forward to festive seasons as they attract patronage by both Christians and Muslims who make new clothes to celebrate such events.
“This year, we barely have customers coming to make dresses and when they eventually come, they bargain so low.
“We have no choice but to accept because we don’t know if we will get any other customer.
“I have made over 15 clothes in the past two weeks that are yet to be collected and I think it is because there is no money in the country.
“It is surprising because given that Christmas and Muslim festivals have fallen in the same week this year, our hopes were high, but now, it has been dashed.
“I appeal to the government to please pay workers so that we can also make our money,’’ she said.
Also, motorists have complained of the hardship being faced due to the unending long queues at filling stations.
They said that the unavailability of fuel during this season would distort their movement either within the FCT or travelling out.
Many of them complained that they could not afford to buy the essential commodity at the prohibitive “black market’’ price.
NAN reports that 10 litres of petrol costs between N2,000 and N2,500 as against the official price of N870 at N87 per litre.
On the other hand, some Nigerians, have said that the situation this year is not different from previous years.
Mr Sylvanus Uche, a businessman, said that Nigerians were always in the habit of complaining of lack of money every festive period.
“Nigerians will always complain and I am not surprised about that.
“I deal in spare parts and since last week, business has been booming. I wonder if it is Cameroonians that are patronising me.
“The problem is that most people want to travel big to their villages and when they cannot afford that, they blame everything on the government,’’ he said.
Mr Gideon Ewele, an Economist, however, attributed the current situation in the country to the change of government and the country’s economic situation.
According to him, irrespective of which party is in government, the country is likely to be faced with a little economy crunch.
He added that the fall in oil price in the international market and the crash in the value of the Naira have heightened the problem.
Ewele urged Nigerians to be patient and not bare grudges against the government.
He expressed optimism that the economy would stabilize in the coming year. (NAN)