Lagosians who want to purchase the government’s Lake Rice, which costs N12,000 per 50kg bag, are complaining bitterly.
The news of Lake rice’s arrival had been greeted with cheers but when sales began on Thursday, the cheers turned to complaints. Instead of finding relief in the scheme like they had expected, many people in fact had their problems compounded while trying to access the product. The frustration is mounting.
Here are accounts of three residents who were frustrated trying to get the product:
Kelechi Ukatu, from Ori-Okuta, Ikorodu said:
“In my life, I have never suffered the way I did on Thursday,”
“I left my house very early that morning to go to Farm Service Centre in Odogunyan where the LAKE Rice was to be sold for interested buyers living around Ikorodu. Of course by the time I got there around 10:00am, I met more than 200 people who had already registered and gone to pay in the bank. By the time it was my turn to register my name; I was the 700th person for that day alone.
“While I was still there, waiting to get a teller to go and pay in the bank, the 200 people who had already paid were asked to wait for their payments to be confirmed at the state secretariat at Alausa before they would be given their rice. Many of them waited for hours and later left the place angrily after some of the officials asked them to check back the next day.
“A lot of people also left in frustration after waiting several hours just to get a teller to go and pay in the bank. I left the place by 1:00pm without recording any success. On Friday morning, I went back to check, the situation was worse, I had to give up. I am just pained that I wasted that much time waiting in a queue for something that won’t even get to me. If not for God, I could have fainted in the midst of that suffering,” she said, fuming with rage.
Mr. Ayodele Bamgbose, another Ikorodu resident said:
“It is a good thing that the Lagos State Government came up with this idea of selling bags of rice for N12, 000 each but their good intention has turned to a huge disappointment for many of us who cannot even get to buy the product even after visiting the Odogunyan centre for two days.
“Apart from the large number of people at the place, the process one is subjected to before he or she can purchase just one bag is not fair. In fact, if you are not healthy, you could faint in the process.
“How can people wait in the queue for more than two hours just to register and be given tellers to go and pay in the bank? Even by the time you pay and come back, they tell you they have to confirm if your payment has reflected in the server in Alausa. This is madness to me; it does not make sense in any way,” he said.
“How can they ask us to provide our LASRA cards just because we want to purchase rice?” Bunmi Ogunleye, a hairdresser, asked angrily. “It is not as if it’s a document that every resident of Lagos has yet, so I don’t know why that should be used as a condition to purchase the LAKE Rice. I left the centre I visited because the idea did not make any sense to me,” she said.
There were similar tales of frustration and disappointment in many of the sales points across most local government areas of Lagos between Thursday and Friday. For many, the exercise had not lived up to their expectations especially with the criteria adopted to select beneficiaries.