Traders blame high cost of food items in Nigeria on insecurity

Traders in Ose Okwodu Market in Onitsha, Anambra State, have blamed the rising cost of food items in Nigeria on the insecurity bedeviling the country.

The traders stated this through their market leaders on Thursday when the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC) visited the market for a survey on the cause of the rising cost of food items in the country.

Secretary of Ose Okwodu Market Traders Union, Mr Onyejekwe Cyprian, who represented the chairman of the union, Mr Ikechukwu Umeanozie, during the visit said the market is seen as the food basket of Anambra State and beyond, but lately the cost of items in the market has become unbearable.

He attributed this to insecurity, saying that farmers now fear to go to their farms to cultivate crops, and even when they do, they are either abducted when moving crops to urban places to sell, or when coming back.

“These days, traders now go to rural places because farmers who manage to harvest crops fear to transport them by road for fear of kidnapping.

“Now it is the traders that are suffering because we go to them. Most consumables in Nigeria come down here to this market which serves as a distribution point.

“We receive supplies from all over the country, three times every week. Yams from Benue, grains from Niger, Adamawa and other state, potatoes from diverse places, fish from parts of Anambra here, but today, how many times do supplies come?

“Sometimes, farmers call traders on the phone and tell them there may not be supplies in the near future, that bandits were terrorizing them. In that way, the trader who knows he will not get stock will hike the price of the available ones.

“If government can do something about insecurity, I’m sure farmers will return to farm and traders will not be afraid to transport their goods back for sale.”

Onyejekwe told the South East zonal coordinator of FCCPC, Mr Jude Akonam, that besides insecurity, climate change and cost of transportation were other factors.

Akonam said the reason for the visit was to hear from traders and customers how the rise in prices affect them, with a view to relay the message to the appropriate quarters for action.

Officials of FCCPC who interacted with traders and customers also shared fliers to sensitize them on the role of the Commission.

Onuorah said the exercise was a country-wide affair, which is carried out by various zonal offices of the Commission.

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