Food Embargo: Northern Traders Urge Buhari To Intervene

From Victor Osula, Abuja
Hit by the crash in prices of food items following the food blockade by country Northern farmers Northern traders, under the aegis of Amalgamated Union of Food and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AFUCDN), has tasked the federal government to ensure its demands receive urgent attention.
The delegation was led the Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, and former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, who on Wednesday night supported the union in submitting its demands to the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.
President of AFUCDN, Mr. Mohammed Tahir, Secretary-General, Mr. Ahmed Alaramma, Secretary of the Northern Consensus Movement, Comrade Awwal Aliyu and other members of the union were also in the delegation.
 A Personal Assitant to the President, Buhari Sallau, confirming the meeting on Twitter @Buharisallau1

President @MBuhari receives Governor of Kogi State Alhaji Yahaya Bello and with them is the Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari during a close-door meeting over the suspension of Food dealers Strike at the State House Abuja,” Sallau captioned the photos.

Two days after the blockade prices in food stuffs crashed: In Kaduna a basket of tomatoes crashed from N8,000 to N150 with no buyers;  In Minna, the Niger state capital, Onions fell from N45,000 to N18,000; In Jos the Plateau State capital, cost of Irish Potatoes fell to N9,000  from N17,000, while in Kano, traders tried to undo their loss by reportedly trying to use the airport to move food to the south.
Speaking to State House Correspondents after the meeting with the Chief of Staff to President, Governor Bello  said working with Fani-Kayode, he has been able to reach out the major stakeholders on both sides insisting on the need for peace to reign. 
He affirmed that he had got the commitment from parties to sheath their swords in order to end the hardship that has accompanied the food embargo.
“I’ve got the commitment of the Union. In order for us not to continue to have this hardship across the country to lift the ban on food and livestock transportation to the south.
“I’ve also gotten major commitment from people from the south not to attack people of Hausa/Fulani and the traders in the south and that the criminals among them irrespective of tribe and religion should be handed over to law enforcement agents.
“I’ve also gotten the commitment that their lives and properties will be protected also.
“So, these are the messages we brought to the the chief of staff to convey to the president.”
Bello also spoke on the demand which the traders want the president to meet saying: “Number one demand is to ensure that their goods and the lives of their members anywhere in the country are safe.”
He added: “On this note, we have brought the demands to Mr. President, through the Chief of Staff and how we’ve been able to resolve the matter. The Chief of Staff is going to convey the message to Mr. President.
“The association demanded that it’s members that are killed, they are requiring that compensation be paid for the lives and livelihood that were destroyed in the South.
“All those who committed those crimes should be brought to justice, the harassment by law enforcement agencies on our federal highways be stopped, the extortion by all touts along federal highways, especially from northeast or from the north to south-south and southeast, particularly, be stopped.
 “We’ve presented those demands to the government because before now, they have reached out to every authority in the land and there seemed to be no positive response to the demand.”
He further said:  “I have the mandate resolve the issue. We’ve been able to reach out to major actors in the southwest to desist allow peace to reign. We’ve gotten commitment on both sides to sheath their swords.”
Also speaking, Fani-Kayode said but for the timely intervention, the crisis which he described as a very complicated issue, would definitely have snowballed into a major crisis of in the country.
He described the intervention led by Bello and his team as “more or less like a miracle” as they acted within 72 hours which led to a positive resolution.
“And that is extremely impressive. And I believe that by this intervention in national issue, if we have this sort of strong leadership across party lines across party lines, our country would be a much better place in the future”, he said.