Concerned Youth Empowerment Association of Nigeria says rice dealers were taking undue advantage of the closure of Nigerian borders by exploiting ordinary citizens.
The President of the Association, Noble Adaelu disclosed this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria, in Abuja on Friday.
Mr Adaelu said that the closure has started affecting the prices of rice and other food items in the country.
According to him, the price of local rice has risen from between N12,000 and N15,000 to N19,000 and above since the closure of the borders.
He said “the closing of the borders to enforce consumption of locally produced food is well appreciated as it will boost the economy and promote indigenous technology.
“I am perturbed about the greedy mindset of some rice traders in the country, who are bent on using the opportunity to amass wealth. It is an act corruption and it is sinful.
“It is disturbing to note that the price of local rice has skyrocketed from between N12,000 and N15,000 to N19,000 and above since the closure of the borders.
“The price of local rice has maintained N15,000 per bag as the highest selling price.
“It was shortly after the closure of borders that traders decided to make the increase for their enrichment, which is condemnable”. Mr Adaelu,who commended the Federal Government for closing the borders, said that it was selfish and greedy for the dealers to increase prices of rice and other food items.
According to him, the cost of production has not changed since the borders closure that should necessitate increase in price.
“We should stop inflicting hardship on ourselves. There is no justification for the price increase. People always look for factors to justify their selfish interest.
“The environment and cost of production have been the same. The federal government has not made any increase on fuel price to attract additional cost.
“Let them tell us what has increased in the cost of production to attract the increment,’’ he said.
Mr Adaelu called on relevant authorities to evolve appropriate measures that would immediately check the development, adding that the change every Nigerian wanted should begin with them.
The federal government had on August 21, ordered a partial closure of the borders to check smuggling and other crimes.
Some of the smuggling routes across Nigeria are Seme-Lagos, Jibiya-Katsina, Idiroko-Ogun, Illela-Koni-Sokoto, Kabo, Saki and Sikanda-Oyo borders.