The Federal Government has called on traders not to raise food and transport prices, as the country struggles to contain the global pandemic of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, made the appeal to the Presidential Task Force at the daily news briefing COVID-19 on Thursday in Abuja.
He said it was necessary for women and men in the market to understand the enormity of time in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that it is necessary to show compassion to all Nigerians, not to raise the prices of food and services.
The minister said that this period was a time to give back to society, while asking Nigerians not to take the opportunity of COVID-19 to further oppress other Nigerians.
“This is a time when people are giving back to society. We call on our compatriots not to take the opportunity to oppress the people, ”he insisted.
Mohammed also asked the National Road Transport Workers Union (NUTRW) to ensure that the cost of transporting food items being taken to other parts of the country is not increased.
He said it was unfortunate that, despite being aware of the danger posed by COVID-19, NUTRW members still disrespected the guidelines of the blockade, as they carried passengers above the approved number.
The minister noted that some union members refused to accept that COVID-19 was real, adding that this may be the reason for breaking the guidelines carrying five to four passengers.
He said members refused to take the PTF call to take precautions in passenger transport, warning that it could be harmful to their health.
The minister also asked state governors to involve NUTRW members in their states in order to save the situation and contain the deadly virus.
“We need to take NUTRW. We cannot micromanage your activities in the state from the center, ”he said.
Mohammed said that NUTRW had the mechanism to involve its members, adding that they were warned not to carry more than three passengers.
The minister's commercial taxi and the passenger are required to carry only one passenger in the front and two in the rear seat.