HARDSHIP…Tinubu, Governors, Reps Attempt Solutions

As Nigerians continue to grapple with cost of living crisis and insecurity, President Bola Tinubu, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and the House of Representatives have moved to contain the situation.

In an effort to make food more affordable amid rising costs, President Tinubu has directed the release of 42,000 metric tonnes of maize, millet, garri and other food commodities from the strategic reserves of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

Minister of information and national orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this to State House correspondents yesterday after a meeting on the subject of addressing the difficulties of Nigerians to put food on the table.

Idris said Tinubu gave firm instructions for the grains to be made available immediately in order to help crash food prices.

The minister also stated that discussions were held with the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria, which agreed to supply 60,000 metric tonnes of rice from its stores over the next one to two months.

Hardship: Fresh Protest Erupts In Niger After Arrest Of 25 People

Idris expressed optimism that the combination of grains from reserves and new rice supply is hoped to significantly reduce costs and relieve the economic pressure on citizens trying to feed their families.

He said members of the Millers Association of Nigeria had guaranteed about 60,000 metric tonnes of rice.

“This will be made available and we know that, that is enough to take Nigerians the next one month to six weeks, perhaps up to two months. They’ve agreed that they will make that available to Nigerians to bring it out to the market so that food made available.

“Now the whole idea of this is to crash the cost of these food items. And these are measures that will happen immediately.”

The minister further said the administration was ready and preparing to import some commodities as an interim solution if local production and reserves remain insufficient.

Added to this, he said, is that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security will be investing heavily with farmers to recover Nigeria’s potential as a regional food basket.

He said the upcoming dry season farming is also expected to boost supply in the coming months.

 

We’re Working For Solutions, Abbas Tells Nigerians

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Abbas Tajudeen yesterday reassured Nigerians that lawmakers in the Green Chamber felt their pain and had heard their protests and were not relenting in finding solutions to ameliorate their sufferings.

Abbas, who stated this at a press conference on the state of the nation in Abuja, assured Nigerians that the lawmakers were not in the parliament to take care of themselves but to protect the interest of their constituents, especially with regards to their security and welfare.

“We are here to ensure that…we do everything humanly possible to bring succour,” he said.

Abbas stated that the House was acutely aware of the rising security challenges affecting different parts of the country and pledged that it will keep security agencies and the entire executive arm on their toes to guarantee security and welfare of the people, which is the basic essence of government.

“As elected representatives, we acknowledge the pain and suffering of every family that has been a victim of brutal crimes and needless violence. Let it be known that your cries have not fallen on deaf ears, and your tears have not gone unseen.

“We stand in solidarity with every Nigerian affected and commit to deploying robust legislative measures to empower our security agencies, ensure justice, and restore peace and order in our communities.

“We in the National Assembly have supported and will continue to support the government’s efforts in finding effective solutions to these challenges. I wish to reassure all Nigerians that the House will prioritise funding for programmes and initiatives to alleviate hunger and enhance security,” he said.

 

Cut In Forex Demand, Food Import Inevitable -NGF

Also, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has outlined urgent actions needed to tackle the interlinked issues of food inflation, naira depreciation and rising insecurity.

This is contained in a communique it released after its emergency virtual meeting on Tuesday to address the worsening security situation and food instability in the country.

The emergency meeting was held after briefings from National Security Adviser Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and the Department of State Services on the worsening hardship from rising prices and spreading violence.

According to the communique which was signed by the NGF chairman and Kwara State governor , AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the governors agreed to reduce demand for foreign exchange by discouraging dependence on imported goods and services.

He further explained that they also aim to boost foreign exchange supply by easing export requirements for commodities and increasing crude oil production.

He said they “recognised the need to address the connection between food inflation, naira depreciation and rising insecurity across parts of the country from a systemic perspective and called for urgent discussions with and synergy amongst stakeholders in improving the situation in the shortest possible time.

To curb illegal export of solid minerals, the governors called for improved enforcement of existing laws.

They pledged to review criminal justice laws in their states to enable quicker dispensation of justice for perpetrators of insecurity.

The also pledged to support the office of the National Security Adviser in the states to enhance the nature and quality of intelligence.

As a short-term measure, the governors committed to emergency food interventions in their states, including incentives for food production and releases from strategic reserves.

 

Sultan, JNI Urge Action On Inflation

The challenges confronting ordinary Nigerians occasioned by food insecurity, inflation, abject poverty and insecurity are distressing and call for serious redress, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and the Jamarul Nasir Islam (JNI) has told President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The Sultan also called on the federal government to urgently intervene to ameliorate the difficulties Nigerians are passing through, adding that the call became necessary following the frustrations citizens are airing in both print and electronic media, inclusive of the social media, wherein protests and other dissenting concerns had been raised in Minna in Niger State and Lokoja in Kogi State.

A statement issued Prof. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, Secretary-General, JNI, on behalf of the JNI and the Sultan, posited that “In the light of the troubling impact of hoarding and inflation on the availability and affordability of essential goods and services, particularly food items, the JNI is therefore compelled to raise its voice on the matter.

“We urgently call on the federal and state governments to intervene before the situation worsens. Likewise, all those arrested during the protests should be released and future recurrence be avoided through synergy and prompt interventions. This call has become necessary such that citizens would not be further provoked.”

The Sultan also cautioned government officials to choose their words very carefully while addressing citizens on the matter.

“More so, the impending Ramadan fast heightens the urgency of our call, as access to three square meals becomes a luxury for many households.

“As believers, we understand that food security is synonymous with home security, as enunciated in the Glorious Qur’an 106:4,” he said.

Sultan and JNI equally implored the business community to resist the temptation of hoarding for selfish gains; instead, they should make essential commodities more affordable, by lowering prices.

“Let us emulate the generosity of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by being more generous and kind, especially during Ramadan,” he added.

 

Labour Issues Fresh Strike Notice

The organised labour, consisting the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), has given the federal government two weeks to implement all the October 2, 2023 agreement or face industrial action.

The ultimatum was contained in a joint statement signed by the NLC president, Comrade Joe Ajaero, and the president of TUC, Comrade Festus Osifo in Abuja yesterday.

Both labour centres expressed concern at the federal government’s failure to implement the 16-point agreement reached with the federal government as measures to cushion the effect of petrol subsidy removal on Nigerians.

The organised labour said Nigerians had continued to suffer widespread hunger with the workers’ purchasing power significantly eroded, while insecurity on the other hands had assumed an increasing dimension.

NLC and TUC also stated that the level of panic and anxiety among the populace has become nightmarish, and that the government is bereft of appropriate measures to ameliorate the huge burden it has foisted on the citizenry.

They lamented that the majority of the agreements, which encompass a wide range of issues crucial to the well-being of Nigerian masses and workers, have not been honoured as pledged by the federal government.

These issues include wage awards, palliative adjustments, improved access to public utilities, and respect for the autonomy of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN).

The labour centres described the government’s failure to uphold its end of the bargain as deeply regrettable and unacceptable to the working people and the citizenry.

The NLC and TUC, therefore, issued a stern ultimatum to the federal government to honour its part of the pact within 14 days from tomorrow (today), the 9th day of February, 2024.

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