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Abraka: Residents Struggle With High Cost Of Living

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By Ogude Franklin/Erhijivwo Goodluck

Abraka, Ethiope-East Local Government Area, Delta State, becomes a ground of struggle for survival as cost of living increases by the day.

The Abraka community, that houses the Delta State University (DELSU), is fast becoming unbearable and pocket draining for its residents. Although, a good number of the population of the community is formed by students of the university, the current financial heat seems to be hitting everyone on different levels. The students however, pose to be the most affected as they come from different communities across the country with varying standards of living. It is quite appalling that a community as Abraka which is not as commercialized as other popular towns like Sapele, Warri, Asaba, and Agbor, will have its inhabitants live through their nose. The price of items in Abraka is twice more expensive, compared to what is obtainable in other places. A quick assumption could leave us thinking that this is because of the presence of the university or the general inflation in the Nigerian economy. However, this was not the case a couple of years ago and it is indicative of the fact that there are more underlying factors to this hike in prices in Abraka than appear obvious.

One of the major causes is evidently the prevailing number of students that are yearly being admitted by the university. DELSU, with its large number of aspirants and prospective students every year, increases the number of people residing in Abraka, making accommodation another enigma that is posed to residents. Statistics has it that there has been more than 50 % increase in the number of students admitted from 2019 to 2021. With increasing immigrants and little or no houses available to accommodate them, the prices of the available apartments are hiked. Some residents compare the cost of renting an apartment in Abraka to that of Ikeja or Lekki in Lagos State. Some places like Lucas Road and River Road, that have been without electricity for months and still counting also have their rents increased inconsiderably. The landlords and caretakers observe the prices of hostels and houses around the community and increase theirs without taking into consideration that students and residents in these areas have to purchase fuel to charge their gadget and operate other household equipment daily which will demand them to spend on alternative means of power. It is obvious that there are more persons pursuing limited goods and services. And, as a common law of economics, ‘when demand exceeds supply, prices naturally increase’.

Another major issue is the cost of foodstuffs in the community. The prices of staples across the nation are expensive but not compared to the incessant increase of the prices in Abraka. Very few places across Delta can be compared to Abraka. Although, the hike can be traced to the lack of local industries in the community, it is not enough reason for this excessive increase in prices. Food items such as plantain and garri that are locally produced in the community are also sold at an expensive rate. Sellers have their prices increased with the excuse of needing more money to purchase goods and services from other sellers.

Another issue is that of transportation. Transporters in the town consider majority of the residents as “yahoo boys and yahoo boys girlfriends”, therefore, they are expected to have money to throw around. Abraka never had a fixed price for a drop, but currently, the transporters, especially bike men have fixed N150 for any drop regardless of the distance. The number of bikes on the streets of Abraka increases by the day as this is the major source of movement around the community. Formerly, vehicle from Abraka to Ozoro, was N400 but now N800, following the excuse of adhering to 2020 COVID-19 protocols and hike in price of fuel. The same numbers of passengers are still carried but the price remains fixed. Obiaruku, a neighbouring community is far more accommodating, compared to Abraka. Currently, the price from Obiaruku to Kwale is N600, and the distance is farther, compared to that of Abraka to Ozoro.

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Some effects of this high cost of living include the financial burden that parents have to bear to keep up with their financial commitment to their children’s needs. Infact, this increase had its tow on the tuition fee of the university, this last session. Also, cyber crime and hookups have become the order of the day and best option for many young persons in Abraka and environs.

Howbeit, with how expensive it is to live in the town, the chances of getting a good paid job is slim. The most common job opportunities in the town is that of a sales girl or boy and will fetch at most N10,000-N15,000, not matching the cost of survival. The basic amenities are not cheap to afford. The cost of food in restaurants is not friendly and this is because the cost of food is drawn from the cost of food items in the market.

Somewhat, the standard of living can be curbed from increasing the more, if the leaders can come together and talk to the landlords, transporters and marketers to be a bit considerate and compromising as majority of the residents are not comfortable with the standard that has been raised.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Luckystar Owhos

    November 17, 2021 at 10:52 am

    Abraka cost of living has turn something ex

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