The Federal Government has appealed to traders not to hike prices of food items and transportation as the country battles to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism, made the appeal at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 daily news briefing on Thursday in Abuja
He said it was necessary that market women and men understood the enormity of the time regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that there is a need to show compassion to all Nigerians by not hiking prices of foodstuff and services.
The minister said that this period was a time to give back to society while calling on Nigerians not to take the opportunity of COVID-19 to further oppress other Nigerians.
“This is a time people are giving back to society. We call on our compatriots not to take the opportunity to oppress the people,” he urged.
Mohammed also urged the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NUTRW) to ensure that the transportation cost of food items being taken to other parts of the country was not hiking.
He said that it was regrettable that despite being aware of the danger posed by COVID-19, the NUTRW members still flout the guidelines of the lockdown as they carried passengers above the approved number.
The minister noted that some members of the union had refused to accept that COVID-19 was real, adding that this can be the reason for flouting the guidelines by carrying five to four passengers.
He said that the members had refused to heed the call by PTF to take precaution in carrying passengers, warning that such can be detrimental to their health.
The minister also called on state governors to engage members of NUTRW in their states in order to salvage the situation and contain the deadly virus.
“We need to carry NUTRW along. We cannot micromanage their activities in the state from the centre,” he said.
Mohammed said that the NUTRW had the mechanism to engage their members, adding that they had been warned not to carry more than three passengers.
The minister commercial cab and private are enjoined to carry only one passenger in the front and two at the back seat.