President Muhammadu Buhari has asked security agents across the country to ensure that traders transporting food items along major roads are not subject to extortion.
Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello said Buhari gave the directive as a measure to avert another strike by the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuffs and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN).
Addressing state house correspondents after meeting with the president on Thursday, Bello said the number one citizen also promised to address issues that threaten Nigeria’s peaceful coexistence.
The governor had earlier met with members of the AUFCDN, after which they called off an industrial action to halt the movement of food supply from the north to the south.
He told journalists that the union demanded an end to the alleged attack and extortion of their members to avert a recurrence of the strike.
“There were demands that were put forward by the amalgamated union, which has to do with compensation for lives and properties lost,” he said.
“These are people who never requested that the government should give them subvention. This is their personal wealth and income, and they are carrying on their lawful and peaceful businesses. But criminals took it upon themselves to hijack the process, kill these people in their hundreds, destroyed properties worth billions of naira.
“Those that were killed, their families, the properties that were lost, where are they going to start from? They are demanding that the federal government should do something and that the extortion that takes place on our roads, starting from law enforcement agencies in some cases, and touts in most cases, be stopped.
“And I thank God, Mr. President has given directive to that effect, that all law enforcement agencies should ensure that traders should not be extorted on the roads again.”
Bello also said Nigeria cannot afford to experience another civil war, as the country is “so much interwoven that we shouldn’t allow any few bad elements to come and divide us again”.