A local farmer, Mr. Joel Oduware, on Thursday decried the incessant seizure of vehicles conveying agro-produce across state borders.
Oduware, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, said the loss being incurred by agro-producers and farmers was not making them to break even during this pandemic period.
“There have been confirmed incidences of seizure of vehicles conveying agro-produce across the states’ borders, especially poultry goods.
“One poultry farmer reportedly lost about N50 million when about 10 of his buses conveying day-old chicks to the eastern part of the country were seized.
“I want to appeal to the states across the country to provide permits for vehicles conveying agro-produce to bring an end to these seizures across the state borders.
“These seizures of agro-produce laden vehicles is not really helpful in tackling the increasing food prices during these pandemic, this should not be so.
“Essential services and food delivery services should be allowed to move in spite of the lockdown across states, so as to cushion the effects of hunger during the pandemic.
“We should stop these abuses on agro-produce transporters.
“Some states have out rightly stopped livestock from coming into their borders from other states because of the fear of COVID-19 infection spread,” he said.
Oduware called on state governments to put modalities in place to check vehicles conveying food items and livestock instead of seizing them.
“Some states particularly seize vehicles of live transporters saying that they have to quarantine the livestock for 14 days before they can be taken to the market.
“This is not the best way to go about this; there should be processes and procedure to allow free movement of food items that the federal government has given.
“We have been informed that the Minister of Agriculture has discussed with the Inspector General of police to allow free movement of food across state borders.
“Agriculture quarantine officers have also been post to the different state borders by the Ministry of agriculture to ensure vehicles carrying food across the states is safe.
“They ensure that the vans do not move people, arms and ammunitions, narcotics/drugs and smuggled foods, these measures are ok but not the seizure of the vehicles by overzealous law enforcement agents.
“But state governments making draconian laws to stop and seize agro-produce being conveyed across their states is really wrong,” he said.
Oduware said that highhandedness from some state governments on conveyers of agro-produce was really unwarranted.
He said that they were not following the laid down procedures and federal laws supersedes state laws.
“Whatever actions any state is taking to safeguard its people must be in line with the federal laws from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC),” he said. (NAN)
– May 28, 2020 @ 14:42 GMT |