Concerns Arise Amid Hunger Protests in Niger State

Taiwo Ajayi
3 Min Read

Concerns are mounting in Niger State following a series of protests and the hijacking of a truck carrying food by angry youths and women, sparking fears of worsening unrest and food scarcity.

Earlier this month, women staged a protest against the high cost of living and the prevailing hunger in the state. However, the demonstration took a violent turn when some youths joined in, blocking the Kpagungu axis of Minna-Bida Road, a critical route connecting the North-Central and North-West regions.

The protesters, brandishing placards with messages demanding government intervention to alleviate hunger, caused traffic disruptions along the busy Minna-Bida Road. Despite the arrest of Aisha Jibrin, the alleged initiator, and 24 others, tensions continued to simmer.

More recently, on Thursday, another incident occurred in Suleja where protesters seized trailers loaded with foodstuff, prompting security forces to intervene forcefully.

The upheaval intensified when youths intercepted multiple trailers traveling from Abuja to Kaduna, barricading the road, and looting bags of grains, rice, and beans. Security personnel dispersed the crowd with gunfire, but not before substantial quantities of food had been pilfered.

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Niger State governor, Mohammed Bago, attributed the hunger protests to the activities of food speculators, whom he accused of hoarding and driving up food prices. In response, he issued an executive order to crackdown on such practices, vowing to confiscate trucks found buying food in bulk from rural markets.

While acknowledging the economic hardships faced by Nigerians, observers have expressed concerns about the escalating tensions and the potential for further unrest. Social scientists warn that such deprivation could lead to social maladjustment and heightened instability.

The recent events have underscored the need for collaborative efforts among stakeholders to address the root causes of the crisis and ensure the well-being of the populace. Beyond governmental action, community engagement and empathetic leadership are seen as crucial elements in navigating these challenging times.

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