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Food crisis: Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency seals hoarders’ warehouses



Dawanu kano

In what appears to be a push back by state actors in Nigeria to rein in on middlemen price fixing syndicates, Kano, a north west state in Nigeria, through its Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission sealed 10 warehouses stocked with essential commodities running to billions of naira at Dawanau, a regional market hub.

Dawanu is also West Africa’s largest grain market whose wares reaches as far as Algeria, North Africa.

The private warehouses were found stocked with floor, maize, sorghum, spaghetti, sugar, and macaroni suspected to have been taken out market to triggered scarcity.

Leading a team of security operatives and journalists on the inspection of the warehouses on Monday, the Chairman of the commission, Barrister Muhuyi Magagi Rimin-Gado said the stocked commodities were hoarded to inflate profit thereby escalating hunger in the land.

He said the unscheduled inspection of the warehouses in the area was after an intelligence report and securing search warrant from the court.

Rimin-Gado said the operation became imperative to check the incessant increase of prices of essential commodities which is compounding the hardship faced by Nigerians.

He said “As you can see, the Kano state Public Complaint and Anti Corruption Commission (PCACC) has made true its promise that we are going to embark on a fight against hoarding of essential commodities in the state.

“We started last Thursday and we have made a significant impact towards stopping the incessant rise in the price of essential commodities. It was such that within a week, rice had jumped from N52,000 to N61,000 within a week.

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“Alhamdulillah from what we have done so far, we are certain that there is an impact. From here we are going to the market to ascertain the situation.

“Firstly, we were able to stop the incessant increase in prices of the commodities and secondly we have the belief that if we sustain the tempo we will be able to bring down the prices.

“As you can see now we are going around the warehouses and we met a lot of issues which after we go back to the office we are going to digest.

“One fundamental problem is each warehouse we enter will be claiming that it is the World Food Program Store.

“We wonder if the World Food program will starve the country while taking the food somewhere else.

“You can see, I was told here today that the price of maize has jumped from N30,000 to N60,000.

“So you see, a hundred percent increase, this is unacceptable.

“You can see these stores, there are hundreds of millions of Naira worth of hoarded commodities.

“We are taking over the stores now and we are going to make some arrests because these will not be tolerated. This is not a market, this is a warehouse. We have activated our intelligence mechanism and they have come up with reports on where and how they are hoarding it.

RiminGado said “We have three options, we are taking over the warehouses which we have now.

“Secondly, we are putting our operative here and put another padlock on the stores.

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“Thirdly, we will invite the owners, when they come we will dissect. What investigation reveal, then it will end up in the court,” Bar. Rimingado said.

There was an unofficial explanation that the commodities were stocked in the warehouse for a contract allegedly entered with the United Nations under Food Supply Agreement, FSA for onward transportation to their logistics hub in Maiduguri, Yobe, and Adamawa for distribution among Nigerians in the states.

During the inspection of one of the commodities markets popularly known as Singer market, Leader of the market, Alh. Muhammadu Adakawa said they were happy with the move by the anti-graft agency as the soaring prices by the companies also has adverse effects on their businesses.

He said they were only victims of circumstances as they were wrongly blamed for hoarding of the goods and skyrocketed prices.

The market leader, Adakawa however, expressed their willingness to cooperate with the agency to address the situation.

Niger state, north central Nigerian, recently placed ban on mass repatriation of food from the state.

Federal government recently told the Nigerian public that it began process of price fixing after a federal high court in Nigeria ordered government to do so. 

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