Customs Apprehend 141 Grain Trucks Involved in Food Smuggling, as NARTO Considers Strike Action over Criminal Attacks

The Federal government has stopped 141 grain trucks involved in food smuggling, leading drivers to consider a strike.

In its ongoing efforts to combat rising food prices and the cost of living challenges, the Federal Government announced on Tuesday that a total of 141 trucks have been apprehended while trying to smuggle grains and essential food items to neighboring countries including Niger Republic, Chad, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic.

Bashir Adeniyi, the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, reported that approximately 120 trucks engaged in the smuggling of food items were apprehended by the service within a fortnight. Additionally, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission intercepted 21 food trucks on Tuesday, preventing them from leaving the country.

While the CG was informing about the steps taken to secure food access at the House of Representatives in Abuja on Tuesday, truck drivers, who have been facing attacks by criminals, warned of a potential strike if the situation continued.

Numerous trucks and warehouses, predominantly belonging to manufacturers and other entities in the organized private sector, have been targeted by criminals amidst the escalating food inflation and cost of living crisis in the country.

“We arrested in two weeks about 120 trucks of food items going out of the country. These are the food items Mr President has asked us to give back to the local markets where the arrests were made. We believe this will drive down the price of food items in these places,”

He said, “Mr President has directed that we sell directly to needy Nigerians food items produced locally but which were seized. This is one of the ways to address hunger and food scarcity we are facing. We have started this in Lagos.

“Also, the President has also directed that imported food items seized by the Nigeria Customs Service should be sold back to the local markets for resale to Nigerians.”Adeniyi said.

If the attacks and looting of food trucks persist, Yusuf Othman, the National President of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, warned that the truck drivers may consider ceasing their services.

He said, “We are affected negatively by these attacks and right now we are strategizing. It might interest you to know that the insurance we get does not cover riots or such fracas.

“So, we are appealing to the general public to avoid such attacks on our trucks. This is because if such kind of attacks continue, what will happen is that transporters will stop carrying food items and this will lead to food scarcity across the country.

“If you are transporting food and somebody stops you on the road and loot the food items, what will you do?”

The president of NARTO voiced concerns regarding the insufficient security measures on the roads, emphasizing that if the assaults on truck drivers persist, truck owners may be compelled to suspend operations.

 “We just have to stop transporting the food items, until something is done about it. Security has to be enforced. The various state governments need to act now to reduce the suffering of their citizens because this is not entirely a Federal Government issue.

“The state governments must be able to curb these concerns because it is usually the local people in states that attack our trucks and cart away food items in these trucks,”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verified by MonsterInsights