Bello Usman, Chairman of Mile 12 International Market in Lagos, has disclosed that 80 per cent of food trucks destroyed in the Sasa crisis last month were owned by northern traders in the market.
Usman said this in an exclusive interview with Newsbreak.
He said the trucks were attacked in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, while bringing food items to Lagos.
Yoruba and Hausa communities had clashed in Sasa market in Ibadan, resulting in deaths and destruction of trucks bringing food to the south from the northern part of the country.
The development caused food blockade to the south by the leadership of cattle and foodstuff dealers under the aegis of Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN).
However, Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, and former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, intervened in the situation, prompting the union to call off its strike earlier this month.
When asked on the possible effect of the Sasa crisis on traders in the market, Usman noted that the leadership of Mile 12 market handed the matter with maturity, to avoid a spill over of the crisis to the state.
“Is there a way any truck coming from the North to Lagos would not pass through Ibadan? It is not possible. How many trucks of food items does Ibadan collect? So if they damaged 100 trucks in Ibadan, definitely almost 80 of those trucks were for us in Mile 12 market, because most of those trucks do come through Ibadan to Lagos. And nobody is asking us ‘what happened and how did you go about it because we were silent’”, he said.
“We handled it with maturity. We behaved as if nothing happened to us, so we can please Lagos State and we don’t want where people would think it is a religious matter. We are still taking time to see how we can sort some issues.
“Some of the trucks belonged to us. We are still trying to see what we can do to assist people who lost properties”.
He also stated that the impact of the food blockade to the south by cattle and foodstuff dealers would have been severe in Lagos, if the market had decided to join the strike.
“If Mile 12 market had been part of that strike, it would have affected so many things in a state that has well over 22 million people. So for instance, if Mile 12 market stops to receive goods, there will be problem”, he stated.