There is acute suffering across the country as the present economic downturn worsens, CHUX OHAI writes
Two weeks ago, just as we were going to press with the first part of this report, news filtered in that the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, officially declared that the Nigerian economy had slipped into recession after successive months of negative growth.
The minister’s admission confirmed the fears of many Nigerians who had, all the while, suspected that there was something definitely amiss about the direction in which the economy was headed. Also, it showed that we were right in reporting that most people living in the country are currently facing hard times as a result of the crisis.
However, what we did not know, until a few days ago, was that the present economic situation has assumed more frightening dimensions in some parts of the country than imagined.
Soup thieves on the prowl
Investigation also shows that as more Nigerians slip further into extreme poverty and the resulting hunger bites even harder, especially in the rural areas, some people may have evolved different strategies to keep body and soul together. For example, in some communities around the Federal Capital Territory, such as Korunduma, Mpape and Kisiri, there have been reports about pots of soup (almost a luxury item in many homes nowadays) vanishing from individual kitchens into thin air.
Obviously, the pots of soup were stolen by unknown thieves driven into such despicable acts by intense hunger and frustration. “This occurs almost daily. The thieves usually sneak into their neighbours’ kitchens to steal their pots of soup at odd times of the day. Of course, a few people have been caught in the act, but everybody understands that they were driven by hunger and desperation. So, they let them go,” a resident of one of the communities tells our correspondent, on condition of anonymity.
Parents offer children as deposits, collateral
Our correspondent gathered that in some of the Abuja communities, poor parents who have many dependents and yet, lack the means to feed them, have resorted to handing their children as deposits to sellers of food items. Also, others desiring to convince money lenders to borrow them some money are willing to present their kids as collateral. With this, it is evident that more Nigerians are increasingly driven by desperation to break the chain of suffering that the dying economy has foisted on them by any means possible.
Emergency taxi drivers Punch