Fish sellers in Edo State markets under the auspices of Traders’ Welfare Union of Nigeria, Thursday, called on the state governor, Godwin Obaseki and relevant stakeholders to intervene in what they described as persistent increment in the prices of fishes which according to them is caused by Fish Unions – owners of Cold Room in the state.
The fish sellers, majorly women, who staged a peaceful protest in major streets including the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Edo State Council, said a carton of fish which they used to buy N7,000 has suddenly skyrocketed to N37,000, stressing that this has made fish to be out of reach for the common man in the street.
The traders who were led by President, Traders’ Welfare Union of Nigeria, Rusfus Okukpe, said due to the incessant increase in prices of fishes, they have stopped the selling of fishes at the moment, vowing not to return to market until the government intervene in the matter.
” Prices of Fishes in our various markets in Edo State have continue to increase on daily basis such that a carton of fish that we used to buy for seven thousand naira – N7,000 – has skyrocketed to N37,000 – thirty-seven thousand naira. This has made the prices of fishes to be way out if reach for the common man and woman of Edo State.
“At the moment, we the fish sellers have refused to sell fish for now in our markets in Benin city until the Edo State Government intervene in the market.
“We the fish sellers in Edo State markets humbily solicit for the Edo State Government and every other relevant stakeholders to step into this matter as the ordinary man and woman in Edo market can no longer buy fish in Edo State markets as a result of the high prices of fishes caused by the evil fish union (sic) in our market.”
Also speaking, Mrs. Precious Igbinadua, a fish seller from Uselu market, Benin, said appeals to the Cold Room owners to reduce the prices have fallen on deaf hears, adding that they (Cold Room onwers) have rather threatened that if they (fish sellers) further complain they would increase the price to N42,000.
She alleged that with the increment, the Cold Room owners are making profit of not less than N7,000 to N8,000 from a carton, lamenting that this is too outrageous.
“They will go to Port Harcourt and buy the fish and divide it amongst themselves and decide the amount they are going to sell. Even when we confronted them that the price is too high, and that we we are running at a lost, and that the common man can no longer afford buying of fish, they said it is non of their business, and that if we complain further we will come back to buy the same carton at N42,000.
“This is the reason why we came out. The money these people are making from us as profit is too much. At lease N2000 to N3000 profit is enough from a single carton and not this N7000 to N8000 they are making. At times we will go to them, they will hoard the fish and say they will not sell,” she lamented.
On her part, Mrs. Ame Oselele, a fish seller from new Benin Market lamented that they can no longer repay the loan they collected in doing the fish business due to the increase in prices of fish and the little profit they make, stressing that the business they do in training their children in the past can no longer be due to the hike in prices of fishes.