Members of Food Stuff Dealers Association of Nigeria have protested
alleged extortion through multiple quarantine posts erected on nation’s
highways by officials of Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS).
They threatened to embark on a nationwide strike, including shutting
down of markets and stoping movement of food produce across the country
if the posts were not immediately dismantled.
In a petition addressed to the Inspector General of Police and copied to
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and other security
agencies and made available to journalists in Onitsha, Anambra state,
the body described the posts located at Orokam and Katsina Ala in Benue
state as illegal, insisting they must be removed.
The body said the petition signed by its President General and
Secretary, Chief Christian Afiaonwu and Udoka Ahukanna respectively,
followed non response to a previous petition addressed to the immediate
past Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe on the multiple posts and
extortion of fees ranging from N2000 to N7000 from their members.
The Petition partly read, “We are aware of the importance Quarantine
Posts which is primary to checkmate animal disease and unwholesome food
Stuff from one location to another.
“We also aware of the stipulations of the section 12 and 20 of animal
diseases (control) decree 10 of 1988 vis-a-vis the establishment of
control Posts in Nigeria. And to the best of our knowledge it is mostly
located at border areas and not more than one in a State.
“We recognise the Federal Quarantine Control Posts at Jebba, Lokoja,
Makurdi and Gada Biu because we were part of the process where it was
agreed that they will be established.
“We can no longer bear the burden of paying at three posts in Benue
State hence our decision to once more draw the attention of government
through your revered office.”
Addressing newsmen, President of the Association Afiaonwu said they had
done the needful as responsible law abiding citizens by repeatedly
drawing the attention of the government to their plight.
He said, “There may be possible food shortage in the coming months if we
go on protest and stop moving food around the country if our demands are
not properly addressed.”