Following the looting and destruction of warehouses across the country, including rice mills, Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN) has raised concerns that the nation’s rice production is currently under threat and calls for urgent government intervention to forestall scarcity of the staple food in the market.
The Guardian learnt that 29 rice mills were looted and vandalized across the nation, with RIMAN members estimated to have lost about N228 million worth milled and paddy rice, aside vandalized equipment and private property.
RIMAN, in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, and signed by its National President, Peter Dama, condemned the destruction, and looting carried out by miscreants in the name EndSARs protests against its members across the country.
He lamented that tonne of milled and paddy rice, furniture, machines, equipment and operational vehicles at the premises of these rice mills were destroyed and looted while some parts of buildings were set ablaze, adding that at the moment, these factories are in ruins.
RIMAN is, therefore, shocked and sad at the level of the havoc that was carried out on these rice mills and other government and private properties within the country.
According to the Association, the resultant impact on these rice mills would create some deficits in their contribution to the national food security and rice value chain, as the affected mills will be shut down for a while amid huge outstanding debt.
Accordingly, the RIMAN Board of Trustees, including Peter Dama, Abba Dantata, Imran Amin, Umar Namadi, and Saifudeen Annasir Abdulrahman, appealed to the government to, as a matter of urgency, assist rice millers with funds to rebuild and restock to restart their operations.
This was because most of them took bank facilities in response to the government’s call to boost national food security, particularly rice self-sufficiency in Nigeria.
They also appealed to the government to provide adequate security coverage to rice mills to avert future threats, and sympathized with those, whose properties, valuable assets, milling equipment, were destroyed, vandalized or looted, and prayed that the authorities would compensate them on time so that they could resume operations.
RIMAN also appealed to the Nigerian youths to sheath their swords, adding: “We also further advised that in future Nigerian Youths to explore dialogue and Negotiations with authorities whenever there are grievances to resolve to avoid miscreants from hijacking their well-intended moves meant to move the nations forward.”