After days of blockade of food items from moving South from the North, the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuffs and Cattle Dealers in Nigeria (AUFCDN) has called off its nationwide strike. The decision came after an engagement with the Federal Government represented by the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.
Briefing newsmen after reconciliatory talks with the Federal Government, President of AUFCDN, Comrade Muhammad Tahir, said the decision was reached following government’s promise to pay the N4.75 billion demanded as compensation, ensure protection of its members and stop all forms of multiple taxation and intimidation from security officials on the highways. Tahir said: “All the stakeholders and members of AUFCDN in our nationwide strike are glad we achieved what we wanted to achieve.
Since Governor Bello begged us on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, we agreed to call off the nationwide strike today (yesterday). “They agreed to pay the compensation and stop any multiple taxation on federal highways and allow us to engage in our business activities peacefully nationwide.” Addressing the traders during the reconciliatory meeting, Governor Bello said the nationwide strike had led to an increase in the hardship majority of Nigerians were already going through, including members of the union.
He lamented that the collateral damage recorded nationwide during the few days of the strike was enormous and should not be allowed to multiply. According to him, the prices of foodstuffs and cattle increased by 100 per cent in the South and West, adding that the North was not spared from the effects of the strike as perishable goods were getting spoilt and both farmers and truck drivers unable to carry out business transactions that would enable them generate the needed finances to meet their daily needs.
Bello said: “We must make life easy for ourselves. Since you embarked on this action, there has been a lot of hardship in Nigerians across board. Not only in the South or West where foodstuffs have increased by 100 per cent; there is no meat. “Perishable goods such as onions, tomatoes, vegetables, pepper and others are getting spoilt, the farm-ers are not getting money to return back to the farms and take care of their daily needs. So both sides are suffering because, even if they have enough foodstuffs, they still need money for other necessities.”
A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, who spoke on behalf of the West and Southern divide, said the impact of the strike was too heavy to ignore, adding that the killing of any Hausa-Fulani or trader engaged in legal business activities would no longer be tolerated. “On behalf of many people in the South-West, especially Sunday Igboho, our commitment to you today is that people of Hausa-Fulani extraction cannot and will not be attacked in the South. “It is unacceptable and he (Sunday Igboho) will be one of those to welcome you when you re-enter the South to escort you all.”