Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago of Niger State has attributed the hunger protest that rocked Minna, the state capital, on Monday morning to the activities of food speculators, whom he accused of mopping up foodstuffs from local markets.
The Governor stated this while addressing newsmen on the early morning food price hike protest in the Kpakungu community of Minna at the Council Chamber, Government House Minna, on Monday afternoon, adding that some group of hoodlums acting on intelligence had attempted hijacking trucks loaded with food items heading towards Abuja for storage.
Governor Umaru Bago further explained that “on the early hours of Monday, some unidentified hoodlums mobilised women and youths to block some food trucks passing through Minna along the Minna-Bida road with an intent to cart away the foodstuffs, but the timely intervention of security agencies thwarted their plans.”.
He disclosed further that similar attempts were made on other trucks conveying food supplies through the state in Mokwa and Lapai Local Government areas of the state before security agencies stepped in and diverted the trucks.
The state governor, however, accused some food speculators whom he accused of invading local markets to mop up food stuff and transporting it out of the state to other states and neighbouring countries.
He said, “I have decided to issue an executive order effective today( Monday, February 5, 2024) to stop food speculators from invading our local markets with a view to mopping up farm produce.”
He added that by this order, any truck found in any rural market coming to load food supplies in bulk will be conflated and the produce auctioned out immediately until further notice”.
According to him, food inflation can be attributed to the unscrupulous activities of those who are deliberately subverting the efforts of the state government to control the rising costs of food prices in the state.
Meanwhile, the State Governor has disclosed that a number of arrests have been made over the protest that rocked Minna, the state capital, on Monday, but refused to release the number of arrested persons and their names, assuring that they will be arranged in court after the conclusion of the preliminary investigation by the security agencies.