MAKURDI – Sellers of gift products in Makurdi metropolis say they are witnessing trade boom owing to the high demand for the items.
A cross section of them told newsmen that both the young and the old were purchasing gift items such as seasonal greeting cards, Christmas decorations and toys.
They said the prices had been increased by about 50 per cent owing to the increased demand.
At the Ayii Iyenge Plaza, off David Mark bye pass on High Level, Miss Stella Dughna, a dealer in gift items, attributed the price increase to the political activities.
She said the unfolding political events in the country which coincided with the Christmas period had turned out to be a blessing for the traders.
Another seller, Miss Lucy Adue, who deals on plastic souvenirs and flower vessels at the Makurdi Modern Market, said the high number of weddings within the season was responsible for the hike in prices.
At the Old GRA, an artist, Paul Morrety, who decorates greeting cards, said this year’s patronage could only be compared to that of 2009/2010.
He said he got prepared for the decorations shortly after the party primaries in the state, knowing fully well that politicians would heavily patronise his works.
“I got prepared with much of my materials bought early again this time.
“Immediately after the primaries I have been decorating congratulatory and Christmas cards; some customers even come for both,” he said.
Christian Ogazie who sells Christmas caps and toys at the Tito Gate, Low Level Area, said the patronage was encouraging.
Checks by newsmen showed that alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks, wine and beverage were affected by the price hike.
A small size of hampers, which sold for N10,000 same time last year, has now gone up to N15,000 while a medium and big size of the same hampers which previously sold for N20,000 went up to N25,000 and N50 to N55,000 respectively.
A moderate sized Christmas tree with lights on that initially sold for N20, was now selling for N25,000 .
Prices of season’s greeting cards also increased from N500 to N2,000 and bigger sizes previously sold at N4,000 went up to N8,000.
A cross section of the traders said a specific factor, politics, was responsible for the price increase.
“I have observed that immediately after the primaries, families and friends of candidates started the patronage, “ she said.
Mr Thomas Atu , a civil servant, also complained of high prices, blaming the situation on politics.
At one of the supermarkets in Makurdi, consumers were also seen rushing in and out with bags of gift items.
Frank Odeh, a sales representative, said the patronage of gift items was high.
At D.O Brothers and Nobis supermarkets, both in Wadata, the traffic proved same.
Mr Linus Okoye, a supplier of gift items to supermarkets, said his company was likely to increase supplies twice before the end of this year.
Newsmen reports that many residents, who decried the hike in prices of gift items in the town, condemned the idea of elections holding during festive seasons.