• News - South West - Oyo
  • Updated: March 29, 2024

Easter: Oyo Christians, traders groan as clerics express optimism

Easter: Oyo Christians, traders groan as clerics express opt

Since the removal of fuel subsidies in Nigeria, the nation finds itself grappling with unprecedented economic challenges. The policy, which has resulted in inflation, has cast a shadow of hardship across the country, particularly felt in the sharp increase in prices of food and essential commodities.

Easter is celebrated by Christian faithful to mark the celebration of death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Traders and Christians alike find themselves lamenting the current state of affairs, as the usual fervor surrounding the holiday season is dampened by financial constraints. Markets are experiencing a noticeable decrease in foot traffic as people opt for low-budget Easter festivities.

“I know things are hard, but I never expected it to be this bad,” said Adeigbe Aderonke, a food trader who sells rice and pasta at the Bodija market in Ibadan.

Aderonke told Allnews.ng correspondent that the popular food market has been experiencing low turnout of buyers for some months, but that she expected that people would throng in en masse as the Easter festival approaches.

“Even we traders realize that people are depressed and hungry. There is more money in town since this new government came on board, and the price of food has gone up. Sometimes, we traders get afraid of buying food, knowing fully well that prices can increase anytime.

“I know things are hard, but I never expected it to be this bad. People are very few in the market; you can see for yourself. There is no sign that Easter is coming soon. In a few days, Muslims will also celebrate Eid-Fitri. Market men and women are depressed too. We are tired,” she lamented.

One of the residents of Ibadan, Oyo state capital, Adedeji Moronfoluwa, while speaking with Allnews.ng correspondent, noted that the hardship is not only affecting Easter but has been prevalent for a long time.

Adedeji posited that the people of Oyo State have been lamenting the hike in the price of food, adding that Christian faithful need to watch their pockets and celebrate the season on a low key.

“The suffering has been ongoing for a long time, not just for this Easter celebration. We are all aware that everyone is angry and lamenting the economic crisis. It is not limited to Christians only; Muslims are also suffering.

“This year Easter has done itself, My take is just that we should celebrate according to our means. Don’t borrow money to celebrate; avoid extravagant spending. We should cut our coat according to the cloth.”

Pastor Victor Adetunji, a cleric of an Ibadan branch of The Apostolic Church, in his opinion, noted that the current challenge should not distract Christian faithful from the virtues of the significant festival. He emphasized that Easter preaches a message of hope and renewal, mirroring the biblical tale of Jesus' resurrection.

“Christians should remember that Christ's triumph over death symbolizes a new beginning. Easter calls us to embrace love, compassion, and unity.

“In the face of rising food prices, let’s remember the biblical illustration of the loaves and fishes, where abundance emerged from scarcity through faith.

“Fellow Christians should remain optimistic that our nation will overcome, guided by the principles of resilience and community. As we approach this year's Easter, let us celebrate in love, extending kindness to one another and lifting our collective spirits. Moreover, let's seize this opportunity to earnestly pray for Nigeria's prosperity, peace, and stability.”

Another cleric who preferred to be identified as “Pastor Olusola” in a telephone conversation called on the Tinubu-led government to devise measures to ease the effect of inflation on Christians and the entire citizens of the country.

Olusola maintained that the importance of Easter lies in the sincerity of Christians' faith in Jesus Christ rather than lavish displays. He cautioned Christians to consider their financial state while celebrating.

“Our government should swiftly implement ways to alleviate the hardship faced by our communities. Honestly, I pray we don’t start to see dead bodies of people on the street; it is so sad.

“Just as Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dreams and devised plans to prepare for famine in Egypt, our leaders must take proactive steps to ensure food security for all.

“Moreover, brethren should be mindful of their financial condition. Let us celebrate Easter according to our means; the celebration is basically for the sincerity of our faith over lavish displays. This season, let's show ourselves compassion and empathy, let’s extend support to ourselves, let’s give to those we know don’t have much,” he enjoined.

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