The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has warned the leadership of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers to stop the blockade of foodstuffs from the North to the South, saying such an action is not only unprogressive but also counterproductive and could backfire.
In a statement issued in Kaduna on Tuesday, former minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe who is also the group’s chairman, said food blockade against the south will only complicate the socio-economic and political problems of the country.
The statement read, “The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) shares the concerns of Nigerians over the decision of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers to stop movements of needed food from the North to the South.
“We call on the leadership of the union to put a halt to their so-called embargo and blockade.
“Nigeria is not at war with itself and such a drastic action is not necessary.
“It will only further complicate the socio-economic and political problems facing our country today.
“The members of the union are said to have suffered severe losses during the #EndSARS riots and the recent violence in Sasha in Oyo State targeted against northerners.
“We believe that whatever may be the difficulties of their members in operating in other parts of the country, ACF leadership, led by me, is willing to help them solve these by talking to security agencies and the government.
“There is no need to mount a blockade by one section of the country against the other.
“Whatever may be our differences, the ACF as an ardent believer in free trade believes that goods should be allowed to move freely.
“This extreme measure is not progressive and even counterproductive. This is not the way to go.”
The cattle and foodstuffs’ dealers under the aegis of AUFCDN, commenced a nationwide strike on Thursday, following the expiration of a seven-day ultimatum given to the Nigerian government to attend to their demands.
The union demanded protection of its members, payment of N475 billion compensation for lives of members and properties lost during the #EndSARS protest and Shasa market crisis.
The union also demanded that the government should order the dismantling of all roadblocks on federal highways due to problems its members are subjected to when carrying out their duties.
The Grand Matron of AUFCDN, Hajia Hauwa Kabir Usman, while giving an update recently warned the police not to disturb the task force of the union who would carry out enforcement of the strike by ensuring that no food and cattle were moved from North to the South.
Usman said, “The leadership of the union has already made a strong plan to ensure that all our exits (our borders) between the Northern and Southern part are closed.
“Every truck that will go out has to be checked. If you carry any food or cattle, you cannot take it out except you take it back or be destroyed there. None of the security agents should dare intimate our task force members because if they do, we will fight it legally.”
Usman vowed that the union would not compromise until the Nigerian government acceded to their demands, saying they had earlier given a 21-day ultimatum without any response from the government.