Parks and recreational centres in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, recorded unusual low patronage as the Yuletide holiday enters its second and last day.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the popular Millenium Park, Magicland and the Silverbird Galleria that used to be beehive of fun-seekers during national holidays and festive periods, received few visitors.
Some of the visitors and vendors said that the low patronage was a reflection of the current economic recession facing the nation.
However, others attributed the situation to non-payment of salaries by many public organisations.
A Federal Civil Servant, Jonah Uduak, who spoke with NAN at the Millenium Park, said he had to painstakingly source for money to bring his family to the park.
“It is evident that the country is in recession and this is affecting every other aspect of our lives, therefore, I do not expect people to have elaborate celebration this year.
“I pray that the country overcomes this recession because it is not easy; people are suffering.
“With the situation, you don’t expect people to celebrate outside their homes.
“Besides many people have not received their December salaries, so how do you want them to come out for celebration,” he said.
Also, the low-key situation was also evident at Magic Land Amusement Park located at the City Gate.
Patience Ezeh, who visited the park with her children, noted that the situation of things the previous year was better.
“Last year, a lot of people came here to have fun as usual, but this year the story is different, and I am not surprised.
“The economic situation is biting hard on everyone; the price of everything, even in this park has gone up.
“I hope that the government will do something very fast to cushion the effect of this hardship on Nigerians,” she said.
Ms. Ezeh, however, explained that many students would return to school immediately after the yuletide holidays, so parents needed to preserve their money for school expenses.
“Parents will prefer to pay children’s school fees than spending their hard earned money on Christmas fun.
“They have to stay and manage what they have at home instead of coming to parks, ”she said.
The usual hustling and bustling at the Silverbird Galleria was at its lowest ebb, as vendors complained of low patronage.
Mamara David, who deals on ice cream and snacks, said that the prices of everything had gone up, and the situation had discouraged many people from patronising public places.
“I am not surprised at the low turnout because there is no money anywhere, the price of everything has increased,” she said.