Residents of Okitipupa in Ondo State have continued to partronise charcoal sellers as substitute for their daily domestic cooking, as the high cost of kerosene and cooking gas lingered on Saturday.
Kerosene, formerly sold for N300 per litre has gone up to between N400 and N450 while a 12.5Kg cylinder of cooking gas formerly at N3, 500 has skyrocketed to between N4.500 and N5,000. A full sack of charcoal, lasting one and half months depending on the usage, has also increased from N1,500 to N2, 500 and N3,000.
Some of the charcoal sellers, who spoke in separate interviews in the area, said that the high cost of kerosene and cooking gas had turned to be blessing in disguise for their business. They said that many customers now patronised them and charcoal gained popularity.
Mrs Bonike Usman, a charcoal seller who said roasted yam and plantain sellers patronised her, said that she had recorded high sale as many customers now patronised her. “I think the high cost of kerosene and gas is a blessing in disguise as I now sell about five bags per day, the same measure I sold in a week before,” she said.
Mrs Wulemotu Akande, another charcoal seller, also said that she made lots of gain in the past two weeks as many people now trooped to her shop to purchase charcoal in different quantities. “Food vendors are not left out in the rush for charcoal because they can no longer afford the prices of gas,”Akande said.
Another charcoal seller, Mrs Wunmi Ashade said that high costs of kerosene and gas had suddenly given charcoal a sudden prominence adding that charcoal sellers now made brisk business and on high patronage. “I knew people will rush to buy charcoal because it has happened many times, so I bought huge stock in December, so I am making more profit now,” Ashade said.
A food vendor, Mrs Oluyemi Adegbemi, said that charcoal was the best for cooking, saying that it burns blue flame like gas, urged the people to imbibe the culture of using it for their cooking. “Charcoal burns blue flame like gas and it is better compared to fire wood which burns red flame and make pots to be black and dirty,” she said. A customer, Mr Adefemi Ikumawoyi, said that he had to buy a bag of charcoal for his wife because he could no longer afford the high cost of kerosene. He appealed to the Federal Government to take drastic step in ensuring the availability of kerosene and cooking gas in order to make life more meaningful for the masses.