Residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have continued to hunt for hand sanitizers, in spite of its price hike as the commodity has become a ‘hot cake’ amidst the Corona Virus (COVID-19) scare.
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) Correspondent who visited major shops across the territory reports that vendors were now making a brisk business of sanitizers as buyers were willing to get it at “any price”.
Many departmental stores and supermarkets have run out of stock of the product as retail shops and street vendors now buy it in bulk and sell at exorbitant prices to buyers.
NAN recalls that on Feb. 27, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, confirmed the index case of COVID-19 coronavirus disease in Lagos, Nigeria.
Ehanire declared the first established patient as “an Italian citizen, from Milan, Italy, who came into Nigeria through the Lagos Airport on Feb. 25.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) thereafter released public health advisory on the COVID-19 to Nigerians, which included frequent washing of hands with soap under running water or using alcohol-based sanitizers if water is not available.
However, the recommendation of sanitizer as one of the measures that could reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 has brought about a sudden increase in demand for the product across Nigeria.
In the FCT, both public and private offices, as well as individuals, have continued the hunt for the product, which price has become unduly inflated and now a very scarce item in the market.
The 500ml hand sanitizer that was hitherto sold for N1,500 is now selling for N3,500 and the 250ml that ordinarily sold for N800 is now offered for N2,000.
Also, the small 125ml size that was sold for not more than N500, depending on the brand, is now being sold for N1,500.
Some of the buyers, who spoke with NAN in separate interviews, alleged that some sellers seem to be hoarding the product, which has made it very scarce.
Mrs. Cecilia Ezeh, a school teacher, said: “The problem is that we are willing to buy it at the high price but you can’t even get it in the market.
“I am just coming from Park n Shop, after moving around Abuja, and the story is always that sanitizer is out of stock.”
Also, Mrs. Mary Adams said: “I wonder why some Nigerians always take advantage of every situation to exploit us because this was the same thing that happened when Ebola broke out some years ago.
“People have suddenly gone into the business of hand sanitizers, and they buy cartoons of the product and start selling it at very high prices to us.”
Mr. Timothy Ugochukwu, a shoe seller, who has suddenly ventured into the sanitizer business, said he sells cartoons of the product daily.
“I buy from those big shops, and then sell them here at my shop, and the patronage is very high.”