Food Crisis: OPS Warns Of Shutdown As Hoodlums Loot More Trucks

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Food Crisis: OPS Warns Of Shutdown As Hoodlums Loot More Trucks

The organised private sector has expressed concern about the spate of looting of trucks conveying food and raw materials by suspected hoodlums, warning that it can lead to a shutdown of industries across the country.

Members of the OPS, gave the warning on Monday in separate interviews just as miscreants attacked trucks conveying building materials and spaghetti in Ogun and Kaduna states.

Also on Monday, the Federal Government said it would start the distribution of free grains to states this week.

Several trucks and warehouses, mostly owned by manufacturers and other members of the OPS, have come under attacks from hoodlums as the food inflation and the cost of living crisis worsened across the country.

Last week, some youths stole food items from trucks stuck in traffic along the Kaduna Road in the Suleja area of Niger State.

On Sunday, hoodlums attacked a warehouse belonging to the Agricultural and Rural Development Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration located in the Dei-Dei area of the capital city where they looted rice, grains, and other relief items.

An attempt by another group to loot a private warehouse in the Idu Industrial Estate, Jabi, Abuja, was rebuffed by soldiers guarding the facility.

“The palliative the government gives out cannot solve their problems and that is what caused the looting.

“The government should solve the problem of transportation by providing hundreds of long buses for each state while it should give priority to the issue of provision of raw materials to the manufacturers. It should also ensure security to the people that want to farm.’’

‘Looters Are Criminals’

But the Executive Secretary of Abeokuta Chambers of Commerce, Alhaji AbdulRhaman Maku, condemned people looting trucks carrying food items belonging to companies. He urged the police to treat such people as criminals.

 Maku urged the state governors who promised to distribute one form of food palliatives or the other to quickly do so.

He said reports of people looting trucks carrying foodstuffs were condemnable, adding that the actions were criminal and  that the police should deal decisively with the suspects.

“We are all together in whatever is happening and no one should be hiding under this situation to destroy the businesses of others. It is totally unacceptable and the law enforcement agencies should waste no time to treat such people as criminals.

“It will also be good for state governments that have promised one form of food palliatives or the other to make good their promises so that the unnecessary delay won’t give room to needless suspicion where people will take every warehouse as a place where the palliatives are kept and then go and loot the place or be eyeing any trucks that are carrying food items”.

Advising the Federal Government, the Publicity Secretary of the Anambra Chamber of Commerce, Chief Dennis Iberim, said, “They (the government) should look at policies that are currently impoverishing the people and review them in such a way that they would positively impact on the people. Many manufacturers have closed shop due to the high cost of production occasioned by power challenges.’’

On his part, the Head of Corporate Affairs of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria,  Moshood Lawal said the Director-General, and Chief Executive Officer of SMEDAN, Charles Odii, recently met with the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun to address the security of small and medium enterprises’ properties.

Also, the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Muda Yusuf, expressed worry that the recent trend would significantly damage investors’ confidence.

Yusuf, who described the indiscriminate looting of private businesses as a function of a society that had descended into anarchy, called on the government to quickly address the issue before it gains currency on a national scale.

He said, “This kind of situation weakens investors’ confidence. This is degenerating into anarchy. Yes, there are challenges, but if criminal activity is seen as a normal response, then that is a major problem.

“We need to take some drastic steps to address these social issues, especially this high cost of living, whatever low-hanging fruits we can find will definitely help.’’

A team of police officers was later deployed to the scene of the incident.

Speaking to The PUNCH on Monday, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mansir Hassan, explained that the command had deployed its operatives to protect road users in the area.

He said the force was committed to ensuring the safety of lives and property of citizens.

“There was no arrest yet but we have deployed our men to safeguard the lives and property of the vehicle and other motorists plying the road,” he said

Meanwhile, the Minister of State of the FCT, Dr Mariya Mahmoud has said that the looting of the FCT agric secretariat on Sunday was not motivated by hunger.

Speaking during an assessment of the looted warehouse on Monday, she said the FCT administration would reinforce security across all government-owned warehouses in the nation’s capital.

This was contained in a statement by the Special Adviser Media to the FCT Minister of State, Austin Elemue, on Monday.

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Mr Priceless
A young person with a passion for success and excellence to develop a professional career that encourages empowerment in the overall development of a person which is achieved through hard work. A Journalist with facts and a difference; standing by the truth all the time with interests in Science & Technology, Health, Celebrities' Lifestyle, Crimes, Education and Career Improvement.

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