July 2, 2007 / 2:12 PM / 10 years ago

Price of machetes drops after elections

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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