Price of machetes drops after elections

ABUJA Mon Jul 2, 2007 12:56pm EDT

People and vehicles pass debris left by protesters during election protests on the outskirts of Kano, Nigeria April 23, 2007. The price of machetes has halved in parts of Nigeria since the end of general elections in April because demand from thugs sponsored by politicians has subsided, the state-owned News Agency of Nigeria reported. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

People and vehicles pass debris left by protesters during election protests on the outskirts of Kano, Nigeria April 23, 2007. The price of machetes has halved in parts of Nigeria since the end of general elections in April because demand from thugs sponsored by politicians has subsided, the state-owned News Agency of Nigeria reported.

Credit: Reuters/Radu Sigheti

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ABUJA (Reuters) - The price of machetes has halved in parts of Nigeria since the end of general elections in April because demand from thugs sponsored by politicians has subsided, the state-owned News Agency of Nigeria reported.

NAN surveyed prices in the northeastern state of Gombe and found that a good quality machete was now selling for 400 naira ($3) compared with 800 naira before the elections, which were marred by politically motivated violence in many states.

"A price survey on machetes, which served as a popular weapon among political thugs in the state, indicated ... a drop in the price of the implement," NAN reported over the weekend.

Machetes are primarily used as a tool for farming in Nigeria but they are also popular among political gangsters.

"Before the conduct of the general elections, I was selling a minimum of seven machetes daily but can hardly sell one a day now," said Usman Masi, a trader quoted by NAN.

Africa's most populous country returned to civilian rule in 1999 after three decades of almost continuous army rule but violence remains a feature of politics, especially during the build-up to elections.

European election monitors estimated that at least 200 people were killed in politically motivated violence during months of campaigning ahead of the April polls.

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