The Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria, AUFCDN, has explained why its members stopped the movement of food items from the North to the South.
They said their demonstration was a protest against government failure to address the alleged killings of its members in parts of the country.
The union is also stopping its members from moving cattle and foodstuffs to the country’s southern part.
Many trailers transporting cows, tomatoes, onions, pepper, grains and other commodities were prevented from leaving a border town in Niger State to the southern part of the country.
A video of a long line of trailers stopped by the union had circulated on social media.
The trucks, reportedly conveying agricultural goods owned by Fulani cattle merchants, were reportedly stopped from entering the Jebba town, Kwara State border town with Niger State on their way to the South-West on Thursday.
It was gathered that the stoppage might have to do with the threat of the national body of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria to stop its members from supplying and selling cattle to the South if some governors affected the alleged eviction of Fulani herdsmen.
The Financial Secretary of the AUFCDN, Kabiru Salisu, said a task force set up by the union was enforcing the strike in Niger State and other areas.
He said the government had not reached out to the union on its demands, hence the strike, which he said was indefinite.
Salisu said, “There is a task force that we set up to enforce the directive by the union that there would be no transportation of cattle and foodstuffs to the South with effect from Thursday. So, the union set up the task force to prevent sabotage.
“In the communiqué we issued, we said the strike would start yesterday (Thursday), and so, we have started the strike. Now, there is no loading of commodities to the South, but those who attempted to violate the directive were stopped in Niger State.
Asked to react to a statement by the Defence Headquarters that it prevented “some unscrupulous elements” from stopping agricultural products being taken to the southern part of the country, Salisu said the issue did not concern the military.
“What is the military’s business with our issue? We have sent our directive and we have no issue with them. What is their business with us? Even if we have a problem, it is the police we would invite and not the military.”
“Those vehicles stopped in Niger State are still there; they won’t be allowed to move to the South,” he vowed.
Also, confirming the stoppage of cattle and foodstuffs to the South on Friday, the Coordinator of Miyetti Allah in Kwara State, Aliyu Mohammed, said the development was factual.
Mohammed also claimed that his members were being killed.
”We are not doing anything wrong and yet our people in the forests are being killed for no just cause,” he said.
In an earlier report, SaharaReporters reported how the Middle Belt Forum condemned the blockage of food items to the South from the North.
Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters said it had restored order along Jebba-Kaduna road where trucks conveying agricultural products from the North to the southern part of the country were being prevented and turned back by some elements.
In a statement on Friday by the acting DHQ’s spokesman, Onyema Nwachukwu, a joint troop comprising the military and other security agencies were deployed to clear the Jebba–Kaduna road and have since restored normalcy in the general area.