Traders, consumers groan as scarcity of food, essentials hit Calabar, Rivers
Ayade bans movement of scraps
Scarcity of essential perishable food items like vegetables, tomatoes, pepper, onions and others have hit Calabar as traders and consumers in Cross River State count their losses from the curfew declared by the state government.
The #EndSARS protest taken a violent turn last weekend, resulting in the massive destruction of lives and property which forced the state government to declare a dusk-to-dusk curfew on Friday night.
The situation has caused scarcity of perishable food items, as only a few commodities find their way into the market after the curfew was relaxed from 8:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. on Tuesday. Consumers were forced to buy spoilt items and few good ones at high prices.
A trader from the north, Alhaji Audu Sani, said: “All my tomatoes and pepper spoilt because we were kept at the Odukpani junction roadblock for two days. Some people even stayed there for three days. My market of almost N100,000 has gone bad.”
A customer, Mrs Imaobong Akpan, said: “At Watt market and Bogobiri, I could not see tomatoes and pepper to buy. Tomatoes we used to buy for N200 is scarce. We are forced to buy spoilt ones at N500. It will take a few days before things become normal.”
In an effort to recover government and private items looted in recent days, the governor, Senator Ben Ayade, has ordered immediate suspension of transportation of scraps of all categories out of the state.
A statement yesterday by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr Christian Ita, said: “It has come to the attention of the governor that in a desperate bid to escape arrest, criminals and their masterminds who callously looted government and private properties have now resorted to moving such items out of the state disguised as scraps.
“Consequently, the government hereby places immediate ban on the transportation of scraps of all categories out of the state.”
The governor directed all transporters and motorists in the state to report anyone that approaches them to move scraps out of the state to security agents, warming that any of them caught transporting looted items would be regarded as an accomplice and treated as a looter.
MEANWHILE, the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest has also resulted in the meat scarcity in Port Harcourt and other local councils in Rivers State. Checks by The Guardian showed empty shelves on tables of meat sellers in various open markets in the state as well as supermarkets.
The prices of the few available ones sighted were hiked, thereby subjecting residents to seek alternatives like fish, which is also costly.
It was gathered that trucks that bring cattle into the state had been targets of hoodlums since the unrest that followed the #EndSARS protest in the past one week.
The Guardian learnt that the hoodlums blocked some parts of the East-West Road between Delta and Rivers states, hence forcing truck drivers conveying cattle to divert to other places of preference and offload.
Findings show that the population of Rivers State consume about 800 cattle daily, apart from goat and ram, but as of yesterday, only two trucks carrying 60 cattle succeeded in entering into the state with the help of some military personnel.
A member of the National Union of Butchers Association of Nigeria in the state, at Okoruma Slaughter, Suleiman Sule, said: “From Delta State, boys blocked the road and forced the drivers to go and offload. These boys are ready to burn the trucks and because of this, the truck owners warned their drivers to turn back immediately they see situations like this.
“That is one of the factors that is causing scarcity of meat in the state and as it is, we cannot guarantee that Rivers people will see meat soon, but if the army comes to our aid and take the hoodlums out of the road, by Friday, meat will be available,” he stated.
Further checks around the city revealed that items like yams, tomatoes, onions, pepper, and beans are also affected as their prices have gone up.
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