From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
In the last three weeks, citizens of Kogi State have been facing acute shortages of bread and water as public taps ceased to flow while bread disappeared from the streets.
This followed the decision of bakers to shut down bread production due to high cost of floor, the major raw material for the production of bread, while public taps have run dry within the same period.
The state Chairman, Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, Bamidele Adeniyi, confirmed the development, stating that his members shut down the production of bread, making it difficult for consumers to access their products.
Adeniyi, who is also the Chairman and Executive Officer of God First Bread, Lokoja, regretted that the cost of purchasing floors and other materials for the production of the staple food necessitated their decisions.
Adeniyi added that the option left for them was to increase prices of bread to enable them to meet the cost of production.
He called on government at all levels to adopt policies that would help his members to resume production, adding that hundreds of youth and women were losing their jobs due to the unfortunate development.
A resident, Musa Inuwa from Ganaja, who spoke with our Correspondent, said the rain which used to be a source of help stopped over a period, making it a harrowing experience for residents.
Also, Madam Carolina Atusumbe, in 200 Housing Estate, Lokoja while lamenting that the last few weeks had been a hectic experience, appealed for the intervention of the state government.
Some bread consumers, who spoke to newsmen at Lokogoma, Adankolo, Kabawa, Barracks and Otokiti Housing Estate, expressed concern over the non-availability of the staple food for their consumption.
One of the bread buyers, Mr. Solomon Bawa, told Our Correspondent that he came to Lokogoma to buy bread, but went back disappointed as those selling it informed him that bread bakers did not supply their products.
A bread seller in Adankolo, Lokoja, who did not want to be identified, added that the bakers had no options than to increase the bread price to enable them to survive the hardship.
On water scarcity, the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Abdumumin Danga, said that the greater Lokoja water treatment plant was undergoing routine maintenance which would last a week.