Severe shortages of beef, vegetables, tomatoes and onions, as well as other essential food supplies from the North, could soon hit Southern Nigeria as food producers and pastoralists threaten to abandon their services.
National President of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN), Muhammad Tahir, who disclosed this in Abuja, yesterday, explained that the association had lost property and several members and were, therefore, demanding N475b as compensation from the Federal Government.
He hinted that unless the Federal Government addressed its grievances on or before Wednesday, February 24, 2021, it would have no other choice than to withdraw its services.
The association, an affiliate of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said several letters written to President Muhammadu Buhari, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha and governors of the 36 states had not been acknowledged.
He, however, pointed out that the National Assembly had addressed their grievances by referring the issue to its Ethics and Privileges Committee, adding that the two weeks given to the committee to consider the matter was too long for the breeders.
The association also expressed concern over “incessant attacks” on its members and their property across the country including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
It revealed that despite its several complaints and engagements with the presidency, security agencies, and other relevant ministries that regulate its operations as contained in its three weeks ultimatum issued on November 7, 2020, its members have continued to suffer intimidation, frustration, humiliation, destruction of their property and carnage.
“During the #EndSars protests, our members were killed and their property destroyed. We demanded compensations for lives and property our members lost.
“We have also written to various security agencies on multiple taxation hampering activities of our members through illegal roadblocks at unavoidable and strategic locations on federal highways and demand tax worth N450,000 before reaching our destinations.
“It is sad that some of the federal highways are not accessible to our members, as a result of multiple taxation, armed robbery attacks and kidnapping of our members until ransom are paid,” he lamented.
Tahir noted that the recent violence in Shasha, Ibadan, Oyo State, claimed the lives and property of its members.
It urged the Federal Government to revisit its demands at various times to address the issues, which include, but not limited to compensation for lives and property.
Its other demands are: “To protect the rights of our members on transit and at their business places and dismantling of roadblocks on highways by hoodlums in disregard for laws of the country, especially from Adamawa, Taraba, Benue to Port Harcourt.
“We seek an agreement between state governments and the union to the effect that henceforth, if any violence erupt in any state and our members are attacked, we will immediately withdraw our services.”