Christmas is a Christian annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed mainly on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration. It is a season where people return home to their loved ones, mostly in the village, to celebrate and share happy moments.
Surprisingly, less than a week to this auspicious celebration, the capital city of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, is still as crowded as ever. This is as non-indigenes residing in the state continue to lament their inability to travel home, following the exorbitant cost of transportation.
In an interview with TNN, most respondents expressed concerns that if they travel, it will require them to sell off their belongings, borrow, to be able to return to the state, after the festive period.
There were those who said they would rather send money to their family members for the celebration, than spending so much on transportation and end up stranded in the village. A few stressed that no matter what it cost them, they will visit home to see their family.
Speaking with TNN, Mr. Samuel Udo, from Bia-Akpan in Cross River State said “I sincerely will love to travel, but money is the problem. You know na, everything is going up. Transportation to my village now is almost times two, so it is better I use N200 and send that money to my people through POS.
“Ah, ah, my people, seeing them is more important to me than the money, but, I know what happened last year, I cannot travel this year.”
Sharing his 2021 experience, Udo said “I spent everything I travelled with, I borrowed from my mother’s akara business before I was able to return to Port Harcourt. Imagine.”
Another respondent, Miss Gloria Ubani, from Lagos State, who just passed out of youth service said “I will not travel now, I am learning tailoring, I am trying to get a machine for myself, so, I need to save, I don’t have that kind of money for transportation now.
“Even if my parents send me money for transport, I will not go, I will add it to what I have and continue to saving for my machine. Abeg sis if you see work this Christmas tell me, even 25, I go work, I need money.”
Mr. Duru Iyke from Ebonyi State, “I must travel. I have only one parent, my mother, although I have seen her about three times this year, but I must travel to see her. I want to also buy her our church manual, I have to travel, my mother has even started calling me. I don’t know when but I must surely travel before next week.”