The Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission has issued a 24-hour ultimatum to traders engaged in hoarding food items and essential commodities to dispose the goods or risk seizure.
The commission also directed traders involved in unilateral hike in prices of food items to sale them at regulated prices or risk forfeiture.
The Chairman of the Commission, Mr Muhuyi Rimingado, said this in a statement on Sunday in Kano.
Rmingado disclosed that the commission had uncovered fraudulent activities by some traders who were taking advantage of the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic to hoard and inflate prices of food and essential commodities.
He noted that hoarding and unnecessary hike in prices of food items is capable of undermining government efforts to stem the pandemic and breach security of the state.
Rimingado said: “This action (hoarding and unauthorised hike in prices of goods) is a crime under provision of Regulation 11 (2) (3) and (4) of the Kano State Public Health (Infectious Disease) Regulation 2020.
“The action is capable of undermining the security of the state to the fact that a lot of Islamic clerics (Ulama) have been making reference to it in their Ramadan fast lectures.
“Consequently and in accordance with Section 39 of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti Corruption Law 2008 (as amended), this commission secured a search warrant before one of the mobile courts established for the purpose of the current situation with a view of accessing the exhibits suggesting the hoarding and artificial inflation.”
According to him, the commission base on intelligence gathering will embark on search and seizure of the food items hoarded by traders in accordance with Section 39 of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti Corruption Law.
Rimingado listed Singa; Dawanau, Hadejia Road, Bello Road, Malam Kato, Gezawa and Sharada markets as some of the suspected areas to be raided by the operatives of the agency.
The chairman urged traders to shun unpatriotic and callous acts, warning that stores and ware houses found to be stocked with such items will be forfeited to the state government.
He explained that the title documents of affected properties would not only be revoked, but that such properties would be seized by government.
According to him, Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje has approved the operation in public interest and his (Ganduje’s) personal conviction that artificial scarcity of food and essential commodities is worsening the precarious palliative situation in the state.
recall that the governor had earlier expressed concern that dealers and traders of food and essential items in the state are selling the commodities at above 100 per cent hike.
Ganduje also confirmed at a briefing on COVID-19 on Saturday that two major manufacturers of essential commodities from the state, Messrs Aliko Dangote and Abdulsamad Isyaka Rabiu of Dangote and BUA Groups, respectively, informed him that they did not approve any price increase on their products.
Consequently, Ganduje directed the anti-graft agency to monitor sells at point of sales of such commodities, confiscate the items from recalcitrant traders and inject them into the state’s palliative programme for distribution free to residents in accordance with relevant laws.
Rimingado expressed optimism that the measure would strengthen government palliative exercise and cushion the effect of COVID-19 lockdown in the state.