Onion dealers lose N2.4bn produce to fire, suspend supplies to South-East over attacks

*Stakeholders say the twin-problem of violent attacks on traders and fire incident could lead to a serious onion crisis in Nigeria as most of the affected producers and marketers have lost their investment in the incidents

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to alleged disruptions to their product supply chain over attacks on traders in some parts of the country, the Onion Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (OPMAN) has announced its decision to suspend onion supply to the South-East because of increasing insecurity.

Aliyu Isah, National President of OPMAN, who disclosed this development Wednesday, June 2, 2021, said the association’s decision was based on the recent hijack of two members’ trucks by gunmen suspected to be members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), CWG report said.

Isah stated that marksmen suspected to be members of IPOB have been attacking critical public infrastructure in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria for some weeks now while also killing security operatives.

In the past week, he noted that they hijacked two truck-full of onions from the North in Imo State and distributed their contents to the public.

It was gathered that earlier, aside from the suspension of onion supplies to the South–East, farmers and marketers had related that they lost onions worth N2.4billion to fire in Sokoto State, Northern Nigeria.

Although the immediate cause of the fire incident was yet unknown, one of the victims, Umaru Aliyu Gidan Fadama, however, stressed that the fire started from Yan Doya market otherwise known as Ramin Kura in the state.

It started around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, Fadama said.

He further stated: “We were told that it started from a Golf vehicle that was offloading yams at the market, and later spread to other places including where our storage facilities are.

“I personally lost 60 bags of onion and I know some that have lost more than 100 bags,” he said.

It was further learnt the National President of OPMAN disclosed that 200,000 bags of onion worth N2 billion were lost to the fire in Sokoto.

Isah noted: “We are only praying to God to bring succour to them but it was a terrible and unfortunate incident.”

According to him, the problem could lead to a serious onion crisis in the country because most of the affected producers and marketers had lost their investment in the fire incident.

He added: “Some of the farmers sell their produce to buy inputs 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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