In Nigeria, the Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission, under the leadership of Chairman Mr. Muhuyi Rimingado, has sealed off over 10 warehouses located in a bustling market in the state.
The impromptu operation, conducted at Dawanau grain market in the northwestern region, specifically targeted warehouses suspected of stockpiling essential commodities such as grains, millet, sugar, and pasta.
Chairman Rimingado cited both intelligence reports and court-issued search warrants as the foundation for the inspection, underscoring the imperative to mitigate the escalating prices of goods, particularly staple food items.
Mr. Rimingado stated that their efforts have yielded tangible results in ongoing battle against the hoarding of essential commodities. He then went on to say that they commenced their operation last Thursday and have already made significant headway in halting the incessant surge in prices.”
He continued by noting that the rapid escalation in the cost of rice, from N52,000 to N61,000 within a week, underscored the urgency of their intervention.
Rimingado expressed concern over the assertion by warehouse owners that their stockpiles were designated for the World Food Programme. He finds it incredulous that such vast quantities of commodities would be earmarked for humanitarian aid while domestic markets face shortages.
The chairman condemned the exorbitant price hikes witnessed in the market, with maize prices skyrocketing from N30,000 to N60,000, a 100% increase deemed intolerable.
“We are taking over the stores now and we are going to make some arrests because this will not be tolerated. This is not a market; this is a warehouse. We have activated our intelligence mechanism, and they have come up with reports on where and how they are hoarding it.” declared Rimingado. “We have three options; we are taking over the warehouses which we have now. Secondly, we are putting our operative here and put another padlock on the stores. Thirdly, we will invite the owners; when they come, we will dissect what investigations reveal, then it will end up in the court,” Mr. Rimingado added.
During the inspection, a warehouse official claimed that the stocked commodities were intended for distribution under a contract with the United Nations Food Supply Agreement. However, Rimingado vowed to investigate the matter thoroughly.
In a subsequent visit to the Singer market, market leader Alh. Muhammadu Adakawa expressed support for the agency’s actions, asserting that inflated prices by certain companies adversely affect local businesses. While disavowing any complicity in hoarding, Adakawa pledged cooperation with the commission to rectify the situation.