The prices of onions in the South East are set to increase with the product eventually becoming scarce. Onions Producers and Marketers Association from the north have stated that the supply of onions to the South East has been suspended. According to the association, the decision was taken due to the growing insecurity in the region.
The announcement was made by the national president of Onions Producers and Marketers Association, Aliyu Isah on Wednesday while explaining that they had no other choice after two of their trucks were hijacked by gunmen suspected to be members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Imo state.
Aliyu Isah said the gunmen hijacked the trucks and went ahead to sell the onions to the public at less prices. Also speaking on the development, the Secretary of Onions Dealers Association in Imo State, Halilu Muhammed claimed they lost over N13 million to the recent forceful seizing of onions trucks heading to the South East.
He explained how gunmen had stopped two onion trucks and sold them to locals for N9,000 per bag instead of N15,000. He also noted that at the time of the attack, security forces responded and clashed with those suspected of carrying out the attack.
According to Halilu Muhammed words; “There were two trucks conveying onions from Kano State. These people stopped the vehicles and seized the drivers and the vehicles. They later drove the vehicles to one side where they ransacked and sold all the onions before we could get the security agencies to get to the area.
“Each bag of the onion cost at least N15,000 at market price but they sold each of the bags at N9,000. The people who carried out the attack were Biafran militants, who were marching with their flags. They carried out the attack, looted the goods and sold each and every one of the onions conveyed in the vehicle.
”The attack was carried out at the market where these vehicles were stopped and ransacked. They gave out a price and sold each bag of the onions at the price of N9,000 and went away with the money.
“Before security agencies arrived, they have already sold out all the onions in one vehicle. It was after security agencies arrived that we moved the other vehicle to a safer place so that they would not attack again and possibly go with the vehicle.
“The incident has already affected both the people in that area as well as those traders who engage in such businesses. Now, people are already in fear, and those drivers have lost the peace of mind to convey onions to Imo state. Everyone is scared of the danger ahead. We have so many vehicles on the ground whose drivers refused to convey onions to Imo state.
“But we are keeping in touch with our leaders, our traditional rulers and government to look into the situation for appropriate action,” he stated.
Halilu Muhammed stated that the problem could lead to a serious onion crisis in the country because most of the affected producers and marketers had lost their investment.
“We are only praying to God to bring succour to them but it was a terrible and unfortunate incident,” he said.
“Some of the farmers sell their produce to buy input for the upcoming season and with this development, they cannot go back to the farm.”
He appealed to the federal and state governments to assist them so that they could sustain their businesses.
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