The Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN) has insisted that its members won't bring food items from the North to the South until they are sure of the safety of their members.
The union added that they prefer to suffer losses by allowing the goods to waste then risk the lives of their members, noting that though they were concerned about the foodstuffs locked up in trucks in Jebba, Niger state, the safety and security of their members is a priority.
It also clarified that the intention of the union is not to starve southerners by refusing to supply farm produce but to protest various attacks on its members in the southern region of the country.
An official of the union, Awwalu Aliyu who spoke to the Cable in Kano, lamented that many members were killed in attacks during the #EndSARS protest and the recent Shasha market crisis in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital and only those who are alive can trade.
Apart from the loss of lives, Aliyu lamented that they also lost property worth several millions of naira.
Aliyu said: "It would be better to lose the food items than to lose lives".
"You're talking about losing goods; which one is better, to lose a life or to lose property? Losing property is better than losing a life.
"We prefer and our people will prefer to lose those farm items or goods than to continue losing their lives. If you are alive, you can plant another thing, you can rear another cattle. But if you're dead, you can't do that again. Only the living can go to the farm.
"We do not want to destroy anybody. We do not want to kill anybody. The number of Yorubas and Ibos that reside in Kano and Kaduna alone is far more than the number of northerners in the entire south-west, south-south and south-east.
"Also, the investments of Yorubas and Igbos in Kano and Kaduna, running into billions of naira is more than the entire investments of northerners in the south-west, south-east and south-south if you remove Dangote. Our people are only petty traders, shoe shiners, fingernail cutters, wheelbarrow pushers, okada riders and so on.
"Our people in the south don't have what southerners have in the north. They have farmlands, buildings and a lot of properties that run into billions. We do not intend to touch a needle out of it. We do not intend to destroy anybody's property. What we want is to have our people protected from being killed."
Naija News reports the strike action which has made it impossible for farmers to transport farm produce from the North to the South in recent days has resulted in massive price hike and scarcity of items such as tomatoes, onions, pepper and cattle (beef) in the south.
Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has warned that it will not tolerate the action by any person or group to prevent the free movement of trucks conveying food from the north to the southern part of the country.
The military gave the caution on Friday while reacting to a social media video which alleged that some hoodlums are turning back trucks conveying food from the north to the south.
A statement issued on the development by the acting director for defence information, Onyema Nwachukwu warned that anyone caught in such practice will be severely dealt with.
Source: Naija News