Ethnic tension grips Nigeria and trade wars have become par for the course.
The north of Nigeria has concluded plans to stop supply of onions–a widely consumed seasoning and spice–to the south of Nigeria, as ethnic and religious tension continues to grip Africa’s most populous nation.
According to Aliyu Isa Umar, National President of Onion Producers, the blockade is a reprisal to the violence being unleashed on northerners and their businesses in the nation’s south.
The police in Imo, southeast Nigeria, had disclosed that a truck laden with onions was looted and vandalised after hoodlums gunned down APC politician Ahmed Gulak in the state on Sunday, May 30, 2021.
“After full deliberation by the executive of the national association of onion sellers, and the failure of government to respond to our cries, we hereby reach the following decisions:
“We are calling on states and federal governments to restore law and order in the states and we are calling on the good people of the southern part of Nigeria to live with the Hausa community in peace, as we are only there for our lawful businesses,” Umar declared during a press conference.
He added that; “We also call on state governments to collaborate with the federal government to set up a committee to investigate the incidents that lead to the loss of lives and properties of the onion association members.
“Furthermore, if the government fails to adhere to what we are saying, we are shutting the supply of onions to the entire south, by Monday the 7th of June and no truck will be offloading onions by 12 midnight on the 10th of June, 2021.”
There have been renewed ethnic clashes across Nigeria in recent times, with separatist groups torching police facilities, electoral offices and businesses in the south to press home demands for breakaway republics.
Farmers-herders clashes have also been rife in the north. Herders of Fulani extraction have been blamed for the recent invasion of Igangan, a community in Oyo, southwestern Nigeria, last weekend.
More than 20 persons reportedly lost their lives in the attack, with property worth millions of Naira burnt for effect.
In March, the north implemented a similar food blockade targeting the south, with the prices of foodstuff–including beef, tomatoes and grains–hitting the roof as inflation continues its spiral out of control in Africa’s largest economy.