The Managing Director of an Ibadan-based hatchery, Best Line Hatchery, Reverend Tunde Owolabi has reveald the ordeal of his company in the hands of the security operatives who ignored the essential service order that allows them to operate and which eventually made them lose day old chicks worth over N50million.
Owolabi lamented that they were maltreated and delayed from tranporting day old chicks in their vehicles which are supposed to be moved to Edo, Delta and Eastern parts of Nigeria.
The MD lamented that the delay resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of the day old chicks could could not bear the heat in the vehicles
Reverend Owolabi who has petitioned the Commissioner of Police and Governor Seyi Makinde, told journalists in Ibadan that despite all their entrities to make them realise the importance of the movements and the danger in keeping them in the vehicle for long, the police refused.
Owolabi explained that some police officers had on Monday evening allegedly stopped no fewer than 20 buses conveying the day-old chicks to other parts of the country from Ibadan claiming that they cannot go and ignored all the documents presented, saying that they were carrying out othe new order of the Federal government.
“This is the more reason why we want the authorities to be aware of the way we were treated. It was a big loss to us and we can’t allow that to go or be swept under the carpet”
He warned that the overzealousness of the police distrupting essential food items which are meant to boost the economy of Nigeria, could be dangerous and result into food scarcity and hunger.
According to him, “We trust God that with all effort that is on ground, COVID-19 should be a thing of the past very soon. But by the time this problem is over, there is going to be a looming danger of scarcity of farm and poultry produce.
“Hunger problem is far far greater in dimension compared to the danger COVID-19 poses. The number of birds that is involved today is alarming.”
“We have about 20 buses that are affected today and in each of these we have about 8,000 to 10,000 birds.The monetary value is huge. We are talking about over N50million worth of birds,”.
Owolabi wondered when the Federal Government ordered policemen not to allow movement of agriculture produce to other parts of the country as essential products.
“It is rather unfortunate that these our birds were returned last night. Birds are meant to travel at the cool hours of the day and that is the reason you see us travel in the night.”
He explained “Our drivers have the passes. As you can see with me here, we have all the documents from Poultry Association of Nigeria and from Ministry of Agriculture. Each of the drivers carry the papers.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government, we are appealing to the state government to continuously give us free passage for all our drivers,” he said.
Also speaking, Alhaji Asimiyu Oyetunde, the Chairman, Day Old Chicks Merchant Association of Nigeria, expressed bitterness over the attitude of the security agencies despite having all valid documents issued by the association, both Federal and State Ministry of Agriculture covering them from moving their products to other states of the country.
He maintained that a larger portion of the day-old chicks died as a result of the hindrance, saying the loss was over N50 million naira.
“All our effort to make sure they moved proved abortive because none of them even answered us. They said that was the new order which we were not informed.”
“We have many papers from the federal ministry of Agriculture, Governor’s Forum, Oyo State Government and the Inspector General of Police to prove that agricultural produce have free passage in any part of the country,” he said.
Also, Mr Gbemisoye Agboola, the Oyo State Chairman, Poultry Association of Nigeria(PAN), expressed sadness over the huge loss caused by the security personnel who acted contrary to the directives.
However, Mr Gbenga Fadeyi, the State Police Public Relations Officer, told newsmen that he was yet to be briefed on the matter.
Fadeyi assured that the issue would be investigated as soon as they gets the brief.