Okwe Obi, Abuja
Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN), has raised the alarm over the destruction of rice mills across the country, as a result of the #EndSARS protest, lamenting that the situation would lead to scarcity of the commodity.
RIMAN solicited the intervention of the Federal and Governments, to assist members with funds to enable them to repair and replace damaged parts in order to commence production.
In a statement yesterday, its Board of Trustee Chairman, Peter Dama, said: “Rice Millers Association of Nigeria, is taken aback at the devastating destructions, lootings carried out against its members, amongst whom are Shamad Rice Mill Yola, Glams Foods Lagos and several others by hoodlums and miscreants under the guise of Endsars peaceful protest in the country recently.
“This act is condemnable, highly regrettable and insensitive, regrettably, during these attacks. Tons of milled rice, paddy, 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.
“At the moment, these rice mills factories are in rubbles.
“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.
“The resultant impacts on these Rice mills will create some deficits in our members’ contribution to the national food security and rice value chain, as the affected rice mills will be shut down for a while at this critical period with huge debts to pay.
“RIMAN, therefore, calls on Government to as a matter of urgency, assist the Rice millers with funds to rebuild and restock to commence their operations, as most of them, took bank facilities to answer the call by government to add to National Food Security deficit, particularly on Rice self-sufficiency in the country.
“RIMAN also appeals to government to provide adequate security coverage to Rice mills under threat, in order to avert future occurrence.
“RIMAN also expresses its sympathy to all those, whose properties valuable assets, milling equipment, were destroyed, vandalized or looted, and prayed that the authorities will compensate them on time so that they can resume operations.
“RIMAN also appeal to the Nigerian Youths to sheath their swords, since they have spoken loud and clear and government has heard them.
“They should therefore retreat and await the implementation of government promises to them. We also further advice that in future Nigerian youths should explore dialogue and Negotiations with authorities whenever there are grievances to resolve in order to avoid miscreants from hijacking their well-intended moves meant to move the nations forward.”