Yahaya Bello: Northern traders outline demands to prevent another blockade


Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi, has called on the federal government to meet the demands of the Amalgamated Union of Food and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN).

Bello spoke after the union met with the presidency, led by Ibrahim Gambari, chief of staff to the president, on Wednesday.

The union had halted the movement of food supply to the south in protest of a number of issues, including attacks on their members.

Addressing reporters after the meeting, Bello said the union had tabled a list of demands which must be met to avert a recurrence.

“I’ve got the commitment of the union in order for us not to continue to have this hardship across the country to lift the ban on food and livestock transportation to the south,” Bello said.

“I’ve also got major commitment from people from the south not to attack people of Hausa/Fulani and the traders in the south, and that the criminals among them, irrespective of tribe and religion, should be handed over to law enforcement agents.

“I’ve also got the commitment that their lives and properties will be protected also. So, these are the messages we brought to the chief of staff to convey to the president.”

Bello said the number one demand of the traders is to ensure that their goods and the lives of their members anywhere in the country are safe.

He said the association is demanding compensation “to be paid for the lives and livelihood destroyed in the south”.

“All those who committed those crimes should be brought to justice, the harassment by law enforcement agencies on our federal highways be stopped, the extortion by all touts along federal highways, especially from north-east or from the north to south-south and south-east, particularly, be stopped, he said.

“We’ve presented those demands to the government because before now, they have reached out to every authority in the land and there seemed to be no positive response to the demand.”

Also speaking, Fani-Kayode, former minister of aviation, said the issue would have snowballed into a major crisis but for the timely intervention.

He described the intervention as “more or less like a miracle”.

“And that is extremely impressive. And I believe that by this intervention in national issue if we have this sort of strong leadership across party lines, our country would be a much better place in the future,” he said.

On his part, Gambari commended the union for calling off the strike and assured them that their demands will be presented to President Muhammadu Buhari.