…Strike worsed hardship nationwide – FG
By Appolos Christian
The Amalgamated Union of Foodstuffs and Cattle Dealers in Nigeria (AUFCDN), has called off its nationwide strike, after an engagement with the Federal Government presided by the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.
Briefing newsmen after a meeting held about an hour after reconciliatory talks with the Federal Government, President AUFCDN, Comrade Muhammad Tahir, said the decision was reached following government’s promise to pay the N4.75billion demanded as compensation, ensure protection of its members and stop all forms of multiple taxation and intimidation from security officials on the highways.
Tahir said: “All the stakeholders and members of AUFCDN in our nationwide strike are glad we achieved what we wanted to achieve. Since the Governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello begged us on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, we agreed to call off the nationwide strike today.
“They agreed to pay the compensation and call off any multiple taxation on federal highway and allow us to engage in our business activities peacefully nationwide.”
Addressing the aggrieved unionists during the reconciliatory meeting, Yahaya Bello said the nationwide strike had led to an increase in the hardship majority of Nigerians were already going through, including members of the aggrieved union.
He lamented that the collateral damage recorded nationwide during the few days of the strike was enormous and should not be allowed to multiply.
According to him, the prices of foodstuffs and cattle increased by 100 percent in the south and west, adding that the North was not spared from the effects of the strike as perishable goods were getting spoilt and both farmers and truck drivers unable to carry out business transactions that would enable them generate the needed finances to meet their daily needs.
To this end, he had appealed to the aggrieved union to immediately call off the strike and allow movement of foodstuffs and cattle to all papers of the country, especially the north and southern parts, with the assurance no Hausa-Fulani or members of the union would be maltreated, harassed or killed.
He said: “We must make life simple for ourselves; since you embarked in this action there has been a lot of hardship in Nigerians across board. Not only in the south or west where foodstuffs have increased by 100 per cent; there is no meat, no food stuff and the few available are getting dry in the south
“While your trucks are parked there is corrosion because they are not moving and you will have to service them before you can put then to use.
Perishable goods such as; onions, tomatoes, vegetables, pepper and others are getting spoilt, the farmers are not getting money to return back to the farms and take care of their daily needs so both sides are suffering because even if they have enough foodstuffs they still need money for other necessities.
“The collateral damage between the day you embarked on strike and today will only continue to multiply everyday and in order not to allow this to continue and for me to be able to tender your demands, please call off the strike immediately.”
A former minister of Aviation, Femi Fani Kayode who spoke on behalf of the West and Southern divide, said the impact of the strike was too heavy to ignore, adding that the killing of any Hausa-Fulani or traders engaged in legal business activities would no longer be tolerated or accepted.
“On behalf of the so many people in the south West especially Sunday Igboho, our commitment to you today that people of the Hausa Fulani extraction cannot and will not be attacked in the south.
“It is unacceptable and he (Sunday Igboho) will be one of those to welcome you when you re-enter the South to escort you you all.”
Kayode however appealed to the Federal Government to be committed towards addressing the menace of killed Fulani herdsmen in the forests, who have been known for perpetrating all forms of evil including killing, raping and maiming of Nigerians.
“I want to appeal to the Federal Government and all concerned to join hands and stop the criminals that attack our people. It is not our way of life and thank you for not visiting tour wrath on innocent people, we will not tolerate the killings of Hausa Fulani people, we will not accept it.”
Also speaking, President, Northern Consensus Movement, Awwal Aliu who maintained that the stoppage of supplies to the west and north was not targeted at creating starvation or increased hardship in the country, said the move was taken to express dissatisfaction with the killings and maltreatment of its members but most importantly, to avert a retaliation by its members and Northern youths.
“We saw that our people were were angry and were about to attack and retaliate so we came together to find a way to stop the carnage against the people of the south and west.
“Not a single Igbo or Yoruba man has been touched in any of the Northern states. We decided to bring out this strategy that will make our people know we don’t need to kill or hurt anybody to make our position known.”
AUFCDN is demanding protection of its members, payment of N475 billion compensation for lives of members and properties lost during the #EndSars protest and Shasha market chaos, dismantling of all road blocks on federal highways, and an agreement with state governments to withdraw services anytime their members were subject to attack.