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Food blockade crisis hits Ebonyi, commodity prices soar

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By Ruth Oginyi

Barely a week after the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN) launched its controversial blockade of foodstuff and cattle from the North to Southern Nigeria, scarcity of food stuffs has become noticeable in Ebonyi state.

Orient Weekend’s correspondent who visited some markets in Abakaliki, the state capital and other parts of the state reports that food commodity dealers and buyers have bemoaned the unusual scarcity (and increase in prices) of commodities in the state. They called for urgent government intervention to settle the matter.

The people also decried that while cost of fruits and foodstuff from the northern parts are on the high side, prizes of Garri and rice commodities are also skyrocketing.

In a visit to Hausa quarters and Cattle Market in Abakaliki, most of the foodstuff dealers decried the development in the price hike of goods in the state. Some customers that came could not buy because of the price while few cows and goats were placed for sale.

While speaking with some of the foodstuff dealers, Mr. Garba Danjuma, a goat dealer said they had few goats available for sale because of the blockade of food commodities coming down to the Eastern part of Nigeria saying that many customers could not buy any goat because of the prize hike where the goat they use to sell at N10,000-15,000 now sold for N35,000 and those sold at N40,000 now go for N70,000.

On the prices of cows, Danjuma said the cow was sold at N150,000 before but now is N250,000 blaming the increase on the attack of Northerners in different parts of Southern Nigeria, “If you watch carefully, the goats here are not up to 20 and many customers have come and couldn’t buy anyone because of the price hike.

“The goats we use to buy at N10,000—N15,000 naira is now sold at N35,000 while a cow at N150,000 before is now sold at N250,000. Today is making it five days animals stopped entering this state and it is because of the attacks against northerners in the South that caused this problem.”

Another dealer, Ephraim Igwe, said their colleagues who went to buy animals and other commodities in the North were blocked in Taraba state and their goods seized calling for local production of animals to avoid the reoccurrence of this incident again. “For the past one week now, after buying goats from the north, there is no means of bringing it down here. Those who went to buy in the North were seized along Taraba state.

Earlier in his reaction, the leader of Hausa quarters, Alhaji Danjuma Mamoodu Gambo, noted that the blockage of food in the North had affected everybody in Ebonyi state saying that a kilo of meat that was sold at N1,700 before is now N2,500-N3000 adding that the blockade had affected every other food commodity in the market and urging Nigerians to always sue for peace instead of violence, destabilisation.

He said that the killings and destruction of property during the ENDSARS protest led to the blockade as many hoodlums used it against the northerners living in the state.

Ogechi Jude a foodstuff dealer at a food market in Abakaliki also decried that the goods had spent two weeks in Taraba and that there was no hope of the goods getting to Abakaliki soonest.

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