How The Hike in Food Prices is Biting Hard on UI Students


Lawal Taiwo Maruf

One cool evening, when the sun was receding to its hideout, Olagoke arrived from a two-hour class, famished. A few minutes before he returned from his lecture, his roommate had bought Spaghetti pasta for ₦700. To pacify the burning angst of hunger in his belly, he also went out to buy the same Spaghetti his roommate had earlier bought. To his surprise, the price of Spaghetti had skyrocketed within that few minutes. He would later buy that same brand of Spaghetti pasta at ₦900. 

“I’d returned from GES class feeling extremely hungry. So I needed to prepare food that would not take much time. I met my roommate cooking Spaghetti which made me opt for it. However, while he had already told me that he bought the Spaghetti at ₦700, I bought mine at ₦900. Although in a different shop but in the same vicinity. I wanted to turn back as I was shocked by the increase in price but I had no choice but to buy it,” explained Olagoke, a 300-level student of the Department of Agricultural Engineering.

Fuelled by the worsening economic crisis and the instability of the exchange rate of the Naira, University of Ibadan students are not spared from the ripple effects of the rise in prices of food commodities. Amidst this economic crisis, students now find themselves in a critical situation. The incessant increase in prices of food has compounded the complex situation students have to grapple with, as they are now left to walk the tightrope of skipping meals and eating unbalanced diet food.

Some students of the University of Ibadan who spoke on the situation lamented how the continuous rise in the prices of food commodities has crippled their purchasing power in recent times. Due to the rise in the cost of proteinous food items, Radhiyah, a 200-level student of the Department of Nursing, has shifted her focus from eating a balanced diet to concentrating on food commodities that would easily satiate her hunger.

“It has affected me a lot. No more eating a balanced diet, most of my meals are now devoid of protein due to the high cost of egg, fish, meat, and even ponmo,” said Radhiyah.

The situation has not only denied Radhiyah a balanced diet, she now has to cut down on the number of times she eats in a day.

“So far, I have reduced the number of times I eat daily. Now, I drink more water to fill up my stomach and I eat food that could sustain me throughout the day,” she further explained.

Lanre, a 300-level student of the Department of Computer Science also shares a similar circumstance as Radhiyah. For him, giving utmost priority to quantity over nutrition has been his watchword as a result of the hike in the prices of foodstuffs and this, undoubtedly, can pose a threat to healthy living.

“The standard of living has drastically reduced. Before now, I usually ate three times a day, but I hardly eat like that these days unless I want to go broke soon. I aim to have something to eat compared to the time I usually value quality food over quantity,” he said.

He lamented the sharp increase in the prices of commodities as he now spends more than usual, grossly affecting his fulfilment of other necessary needs.

“Before, 20,000 naira was roughly sufficient to buy foodstuffs that would last a month. But now, it is completely unrealistic which is affecting the money budgeted for other purposes. I have to increase my spending to be able to meet up with the usual routine.”

Like Lanre, Akande Enoch, a 200-level student of the Department of Philosophy also spent above the money he had earmarked for food items, leaving him insufficient money to cater to other needs.

“As a result of the hike in price, I tend to buy food items in contrast to what I had earlier budgeted, resulting in little or no money to take care of other needs.”

For Morayo Adeniji, a 200-level student of the Department of Communication and Language Arts, the situation has dealt a huge blow to her face, making her cautious in her spending.

“As a student, the price of foodstuffs affected my consumption habits. Now, I have to carefully ration portions of food, frugally spend money, and make sure to stock up on staple foods.”

In an attempt to adapt to the current situation, Enoch has resorted to drawing a scale of preference for him to attend to his needs in order of priority.

“I have to manage the little things I can afford. Currently, I can no longer get any of my needs without proper deliberation. Also, drawing a scale of preference has helped make judicious use of the little resources I have,” he said.

While eating from friends has been helpful to Radhiyah in cushioning the effect of the situation, Morayo is filled with the hope that the prices of foodstuffs in no distant time will come down.

Also, Enoch nailed his expectations on the government to address the hike in the prices to the standard of living of the Nigerian students.

He said, “I hope that the government will address the situation as soon as possible to improve the standard of living of the citizens, especially Nigerian students.”

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