Cattle, Food Sellers Threaten to Withdraw Services over Attack on Members

By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

The leadership of the Amalgamated Union of Food and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AFUCDN), an affiliate of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has given the federal government till February 24 to address their demands or face total withdrawal of services nationwide.

The union, which claimed to have over 35 affiliate groups, said it had already submitted a notice of their impending action to the federal government and security agencies Friday, February 18.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Sunday, the Secretary General of AFUCDN, Ahmed Alarama, said they are worried about the incessant attacks on their members and their properties across the 36 states of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

He referred to the recent violence that erupted in Sasa in Ibadan, Oyo State, where he alleged that some of their members were killed and their properties destroyed.

The group said they were demanding that the federal government brokers an agreement between state governments and AFUCDN to the extent, “that henceforth if any violence of any nature erupts in that state and our members are attacked, we will not hesitate to immediately withdraw our services”.

“Based on the above, we are therefore giving the federal government of Nigeria seven days ultimatum from the date of receipt of acknowledgement, within which to address the issues raised or we will have no option than to call our members on a nationwide strike,” he said.

Alarama, who was flanked by the President of AUFUCDN, Mohammed Tahir, and that of Northern Concessus Movement, Seal Ibrahim, said if nothing is done to address the plight of their members at the end of the ultimatum, they will have no alternative than to stop movement of their cattle and goods around the country.

He said that there is currently a lot of distrust and disunity in the country.

“We have urged the government to intervene in order not to create a situation which will lead to chaos and breakdown of law and order. Our members have continued to suffer intimidation, frustration, humiliation and destruction of their goods.

“Given the lack of safety of our members and their properties nationwide, imposition of multiple taxations on the highways, despite our contribution to peace, progress, unity and economic growth of Nigeria, our members under the AUFUCDN demand that President Muhammadu Buhari revisit our demands and address the issues bedeviling us, including compensation for lives and properties lost.

“We demand that government protect the rights of our members while on transit and at their places of doing business, to dismantle illegal road blocks mounted on the highways by hoodlums in total disregard to laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, most especially from Adamawa, Taraba, Benue down to Port Harcourt,” he said.

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