Anti-graft’s price control crusade: Commodities stabilize in Kano
*Agency prosecutes LG chair
By Muhammad Hamisu Abdullahi & Usman Gwadabe
For the past three decades, price control has not been in application in almost all the states of the federation.
Inflation and other economic measures or conditions were said to be part of the causes of the hike in prices of commodities.
The citizens of the nation may not remember easily when last such measures were enforced, but they may likely note that it was done during the military regime of Muhammadu Buhari.
After our publication on Friday, April 24, 2020, equivalent to Ramadan 1, 1441 AH on commodity prices that soared by almost 100 per cent the previous day, Thursday, when the lockdown order was relaxed, the story drew the attention of the authorities in the state to study the situation and take appropriate action.
Thus, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of the state immediately directed the state anti-graft commission to deal with the situation appropriately so that it may not lead to a permanent scenario in the state.
That is why the state Public Complaints and Anti Corruption Commission, headed by its Executive Chairman, Barr. Muhuyi Magaji Rimin Gado, jumped into action to doing the needful in compliance with the directive.
The Triumph gathered that the agency had since received series of complaints on unnecessary hike of commodity prices by retailers and traders in the state and it decided to find out the causes.
Findings by The Triumph have it that due to public out cry for help on those prices, the commission acted on the provision of Regulation 11(2), (3), (4) of the State Public Health Regulations 2020 and responded accordingly.
It was gathered that on the first day, the agency launched investigation into the matter; it was successful in sealing some warehouses where essential commodities have been hoarded therein.
A document obtained by The Triumph shows that 19,500 bags of flour; 5,120 bags of sugar; 79,645 cartons of spaghetti and 37, 000 cartons of macaroni were intercepted in those warehouses by the commission.
A source told The Triumph on condition of anonymity that when leaders of Singer Market, where such commodities are largely traded, realised the move by the commission to be in the market, they quickly visited him and reached agreement on reversing the prices.
It was observed that since that day, the prices of such commodities started to fall down, like sugar which reached N26, 000 last three weeks, now sold at N16, 000 only.
On foodstuffs, the commission met with Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN), Kano chapter to resolve negative consequences of rice hoarding effects on citizens especially during the period of Covid-19 lockdown and Ramadan fasting.
Our findings revealed that during the two parties’ meeting, an agreement was signed that each 50kg of processed rice would be supplied and the retail price should not be more than N16, 000 per bag.
Before, the commission intervention, the price of made in Nigeria rice went up to N26, 000 in markets.
Also, the Executive Chairman of the commission has invited Association of Table Water Producers of Nigeria and discussed how a bag price of pure water would be reduced from N100 and above.
The meeting was successful as an agreement was reached that from now on, a bag of pure water would be sold at N80.
When the commission beamed its search light on lockdown palliative distribution, it was understood that some citizens were pointing accusing fingers at some local government council chairmen of misappropriation.
The allegation made the anti-graft body to dig further on the matter and as a result Kumbotso Local Government council chairman was invited for questioning on some allegations against him.
The agency took the matter before a Magistrate court in the state for prosecution.
On Wednesday, Magistrate Court 82 Under Musa Ibrahim Fagge had issued a bench warrant for the arrest of the said chairman, Alhaji Kabiru Ado Fanshekara for failure to attend the court despite receiving a court criminal sermon and complaints by the commission on criminal breach of trust and making false statement and return with regard to distribution of COVID-19 palliatives by the state government in his area.
This information is contained in statement from the commission which was made available to The Triumph, saying that the case has been adjourned.
However, a day before the court arrest warrant against the chairman, the state chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Alhaji Lamin Sani, in a statement signed by him, disclosed that based on the allegations of misappropriation of the palliative distribution against them, all the 44 councils chairmen in the state have withdrawn from that exercise.