New Telegraph

Protest: Niger Gov blames Food Hoarders, Speculators

…Orders arrest, confiscation of trucks with food items
…Vows to prosecute protesters

Following the protest that took place in Minna, the Niger State capital on Monday, the farmer Governor, Mohammed Umar Bago fingered food speculators for their activities in hoarding and mopping up food stuffs from local markets.

While addressing newsmen in the early morning Journalists following a price hike protest in Minna, Bago said some group of hoodlums acting on intelligence attempted to hijack trucks loaded with food heading towards Abuja for storage.

He explained that some unidentified hoodlums mobilized women and youths to block some food trucks passing through Minna on Monday morning with the intent to cart away the foodstuffs, but the timely intervention of security agencies thwarted their plans.

According to him “similar attempts were made on other trucks conveying food supplies through the State at Mokwa and Lapai Local Government areas of the State before security agencies intervened”.

He however accused food speculators who are invading local markets to mop up food stuffs and transporting them out to other states and neighboring Countries.

Accordingly, he said “I have decided to issue an executive order, effective from today to stop food speculators from invading our local markets with a view of mopping up farm produce.

“By this order, any truck found in any rural market coming to load food supplies in bulk will be confiscated and the produces auctioned immediately”.

He added that “the food inflation can be attributed to the unscrupulous activities of those who are deliberately subverting efforts of the state government to control the increasing rates of food prices in the State”.

Furthermore, Farmer Governor Bago disclosed that a number of arrests were made over the protest, but declined to release the number assuring that they will be arraigned in court.

Earlier, Deputy Governor Comrade Yakubu Garba had called on the people of Kpagungu to remain calm as the state government was working tirelessly to cushion the hardship.

After addressing the protesters at the Kpagungu round-about Minna, Garba said the state government will continue to distribute palliatives to the downtrodden.

He explained that the Government is very much aware of the economic hardship faced by its citizens, hence advised them to remain calm as modalities have been put in place to ease their suffering.

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