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Starvation looms as baking industry moves to shut down over high cost of production

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Baking industry producing bread, a major staple food in Nigeria is currently shutting down operation in some parts of starvation looms as baking industry moves to shut down over high cost of productionhe country following the high cost of essential ingredients including flour, sugar and other items.

DAILY POST observed that some bakeries in the Federal Capital Territory had already shut down since May 2021 and resorted to other businesses following constant surge in bags of flour and sugar.

Price of bread in some parts of the country had previously witnessed increments despite decrease in quality and quantity by bakers who complained of running at losses due to the surge in materials.

Our correspondent gathered that a loaf hitherto sold at N400 is currently been marketed between N600 and N700, worsening the hardship imposed on Nigerians following the economic and security crisis bedeviling the entire nation at the moment.

DAILY POST’s finding also reveals that a bag of flour which was sold between N11,000 to N12,000 in January this year, has skyrocketed to N23,000 and above triggering the decision of the bakers to suspend operations pending when normalcy returns.

Similarly, a bag of sugar which was sold at the rate of N13,000 in late 2020 is currently sold for N25,000 and above in many parts of the country.

Speaking with DAILY POST, Chief Executive Officer of a popular bakery in Delta State, Mandela Makinde said he has shut down his company till further notice, stressing that he had been running at a loss for the past seven months.

According to him, the price of flour increases on a weekly basis, stressing that he lost over N300,000 in September while trying to keep the business afloat.

He hinted on alleged moves by some bakery owners in the state to resort to substandard way of producing breads by using harmful ingredients in a bid to continue the business.

According to him, “We have basically ran at a loss for the past 7 months, been keeping it open with personal funds just so my workers would have a job while I thought there would be change, but at this moment we have no other choice than to shut down.

“I am currently at the bakery and nothing is going on. We have suspended all activities here pending when the price of flour reduces.

“The price of flour and other ingredients have consistently continued to rise since the beginning of this year. As a CEO, I don’t have a single flour now because the last time I went to the market, the price they gave me was too high and I couldn’t afford it.

Asked if there is a plan to further increase the price of bread, he said “it is an individual business, so you cannot actually fix the price of bread because it is a competitive market. If your price is higher than every other person’s own, customers will go for the cheaper ones.

Speaking on reasons for the constant increments, the CEO said “since wheat importers started to source their Fx from the black market, the price of flour has continued to rise”.

He called on the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to investigate some bakeries, alleging that some of them use ‘Bromate and Sacarine’, products considered to be harmful to health.

“Many have played with volume in order to keep the price steady, some are beginning to add dangerous items such as ‘Bromate and Sacarine’ to keep their prices low”.

Similarly, Mr Adebayo Ayomide, a bakery owner in Bwari Area Council, FTC Abuja told DAILY POST that he has converted the bakery to a mini poultry due to the constant surge in price of flour.

He said, “Before I shut down the bakery recently, I was already indebted. What I usually do was to go to the market and get the flour from the seller then pay him after selling the bread but unfortunately, I was no longer making even the capital not to talk of profit. I had to stop and look for alternative.

“The country is so hard right now that relatively, nothing is working. Even this poultry, the chicken feed is very expensive and that is why you see that the price of egg is always increasing”.

Speaking with DAILY POST in Abuja, a bread consumer, Miss Jennifer lamented the level of hardship currently bedeviling the masses saying no food is presently affordable to the poor.

“Gone are the days when some food items like garri, bread were seen as poor man’s food. Now, both the rich and the poor are struggling for the items.

“The money is not there, common bread that you can just eat with soft drinks to quench hunger is no longer there, garri is not affordable, rice is never a poor man’s food so what do we do?

“The moment you begin to think that things will get better, you will just hear something worse. How did we get here? And the major problem in this country is that nothing goes up and comes down.

DAILY POST reports that the development may worsen the economy as many employees of the bakeries shutting down across the country would be pushed to the streets as jobless people.

Daily Post

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Updated: #EndSARS memorial protests rock Lagos, Abuja, two arrested at Lekki tollgate

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Youth group leaders, entertainers and activists on Wednesday staged protests in major cities of the countries including Lagos, Abuja and Enugu in memory of victims of last year’s #EndSARS protests against police brutality.

The police arrested at least two protesters at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos during the EndSARS memorial protest.

The police had repeatedly warned against the EndSARS memorial protest and deployed armed security operatives to the tollgate. But the organisers of the protest said there was no going back and some persons on Wednesday morning converged around the tollgate where protesters were forcefully dispersed exactly one year ago.

The arrests on Wednesday, it was learnt, were made by the armed police who had stormed the area to enforce no protest order earlier issued by the security authorities.

One of those arrested claimed to be a journalist and the other was seen carrying a placard.

Protesters in Lagos used their vehicles to protest, shouting that they want a better Nigeria.

In Abuja and Enugu, protesters reportedly stormed major streets, carrying different placards and shouting #Endsars and police brutality in Nigeria. Some of the inscriptions on their placards are “We will never forget 20-10-20”, “Endsars” and “End Police Brutality”.

In Abuja, Omoyele Sowore, former presidential candidate of the Africa Action Congress, and founder of an online news agency Sahara Reporters, was seen campaigning against police brutality.

In Lagos, Charley Boy, popular singer and song writer, Folarin Falana aka Falz, rapper, songwriter and actor joined protesters in Lekki remembering those that allegedly died last year during EndSARS protests.

Falz wrote via Twitter, “365 days ago, Nigerian citizens were shot and killed at the toll gate by our own military men.

“Today, we honour them because they have sacrificed their very existence for a cause bigger than all of us. They live forever in our hearts.”

Debo Adebayo, a comedian popularly known as Mr Macaroni was also one of those that led the EndSARS vehicular procession at Lekki tollgate.

The organisers had announced the procession on their Instagram handles on Tuesday.

“In memory of those who died that day and those we have lost to police brutality, we will: drive through the toll gate from 8-10 am; blast our horns in unison as we drive through and wave our flags,” the information on the e-flier read in part.

Around 9am, the entertainers joined by some youths rode in a convoy, waving flags at journalists and security operatives at the tollgate.

They said the procession was in memory of the EndSARS protest which ended controversially on October 20, 2020.

Lagos Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, had said his men would only allow any procession of vehicles around Lekki, or any form of protest and had deployed officers in the area.

The arrested journalist told newsmen that he works with LegitTV and that his phone, driver’s licence and other documents were taken away from him.

He spoke from a Lagos State Task Force van where he was kept by the police, identifying himself as Abisola.

A report by the Punch said about 30 police trucks and armed personnel were stationed at the tollgate.

It also reported a car procession in honour of those believed to have lost their lives at the tollgate when soldiers dispersed the EndSARS protesters on October 20, 2020.

The Lekki tollgate was where many youths gathered day and night to air their grievances against police brutality and bad governance.

The protest was later said to have been hijacked by hoodlums, leading to destruction of private and public properties in other parts of Lagos.

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Missing journalist: Group threatens showdown, gives seven-day ultimatum

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The Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, an umbrella body of all the youth groups in the South-East zone has threaten to stage massive protest should the police fail to find missing Tordue Salem, a journalist with Vanguard newspaper within seven days. Salem covers the House of Representatives for Vanguard newspaper.

It gave the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, and other security agencies in the country a seven-day ultimatum to find the journalist.

The ultimatum is contained in a statement released on Tuesday by Goodluck Egwu Ibem, President General of the Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders.

The group said it received with “rude shock the news of the sudden disappearance of Tordue Salem since October 13, in Abuja.

“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari who is the Command­er-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, to activate all necessary machinery to ensure that everything is done to ensure the safe return of Tordue Salem.

Ibem said, “If we don’t see Tordue Salem after seven working days, we will stage a one-million-man protest until he returns safely to his family. The time has started counting,” Ibem posited.

“This kind of story is totally unacceptable to us and we demand that the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, and other security agencies “must” find Tordue Salem and hand him over to his family within the next seven working days.”

He also said, “These seven days ultimatum given by us to the IGP and other security agencies to find Salam is not negotiable.

“The IGP must prove his mettle by bringing back Salem to his family. No form of excuse will be entertained. The IGP and other security agen­cies must find Salem immediately.”

The coalition insisted that any form of attack on any journalist is an attack on the entire society.

“They are the backbone of our democracy and any attack on them is an attack against all Nigerians and non-Nigerians,” he said.

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Ota among Ogun communities in darkness after rainstorm havoc

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Scores of communities in Ogun State including Ota have been thrown into darkness after a heavy rainstorm wreaked havoc in the area.

The rainstorm, which occurred last weekend, destroyed many electricity poles and plunged the communities into darkness.

Some houses also had their roofs blown away by the storm just as many roads were flooded.

Residents of the affected areas are said to have been battling with a power outage since Saturday.

They said the power outage was making life more difficult for them and called on the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company to rescue the situation.

The power distribution company has apologised to the affected customers for the inconveniences caused by the power outage.

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