- Fish traders in Borno have expressed their dissatisfaction with the cost of transporting fish
- The aggrieved traders said they are facing serious threats of being pushed out of the business in Borno state
- The chairman of fish and seafood dealers association, Abubakar Gamandi, however, claimed that the transportation fare was agreed by all stakeholders in the business
Fish traders in Borno state have lamented the cost of transporting fish allegedly imposed on them by their union officials, adding that unless government intervenes and reverses the trend, they may be forced to abandon the business.
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According to some of the aggrieved traders, despite the availability of large quantities of fish in the Lake Chad waters, fish has remained scarce and expensive in the market because of illegal collection of high tariff from traders by officials they suspect were working in cohorts with the authorities around the lake, Premium Times reports.
NAIJ.com gathered that Lake Chad area of Borno state reportedly accounts for a good amount of fish consumed across Nigeria.
A fish merchant, Adamu Usman, said: “We fish traders are seriously facing threats of being pushed out of business here in Borno state.
“In the past, before Boko Haram came, we used to pay only N700 to transport a carton of fish from Baga market in Kukawa local government area to any part of the country. But today, some persons who imposed themselves as our officials are taking as much as N2,500 per carton of fish just to transport them from Baga fish market to Maiduguri."
They also said that a carton of fish usually goes for between N20, 000 and N23,000, and that by the time they added the cost of transportation, the purchase price goes up to N27, 000; which they said exclude the cost of offloading upon arrival in Maiduguri.
Mustapha Abubakar, another fish dealer, alleged that the union leaders, led by one Alhaji Gamandi, who functions as the chairman, would stop any trader who refused to pay the N2,500 per carton of fish from transporting their stock out of Baga.
A popular fish merchant at the market, Idrissa Usman, said: “The fishes are available there in the lake’s waters, but the high charges for bringing it to the market is what is killing the business. Due to lack of money in town, our customers would price your commodity at the old rates, and if you insist on selling on a higher price, they won’t buy. So we have to sell just to break even, which is not good for us."
Another fish merchant, Aliyu Malami, urged the government to prevail on the officials to reduce the transportation fare they pay to transport their commodity.
He said: “We want the government to prevail on the officials to lessen the charges they place on the transportation of fish, else we may not be able to do the business anymore."
However, the chairman of Fish and Seafood Dealers Association, Abubakar Gamandi, denied claims of arbitrary raising the cost of transporting fish from Baga to Maiduguri markets.
He said: “Of course, we have increased the price of transporting fish from Doron-Baga to Maiduguri, and this was done based on prevailing circumstances and in a democratic manner. The last time we had a meeting with all the stakeholders in the business, a lot of concerns were raised especially on how much a carton of fish should be transported. Various prices were suggested - ranging from N3,000, N2500 and N2,000. And after wide consultations, we settled for N2,000 per carton.
“It is wrong for anyone that is complaining today to say we are taking N2,500 as charges for transporting a carton of fish.”
NAIJ.com previously reported that union leaders in the fish industry described how the Boko Haram insurgency in Northeast Nigeria hit the region’s fishing industry, causing shortages and driving up prices.
The major city of Maiduguri was particularly affected, as the authorities in neighbouring Niger detained huge consignments of smoked fish on security grounds.
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