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Senate to Tinubu: Tackle hunger in the land now

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.Says current food situation an emergency
.As FG deploys 60 trucks of fertilizers to each of the 36 states
.Two per senator, one truck for Rep
.As President inaugurates c’ttee on implementation of livestock reforms

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Ignatius Okorocha,Abuja

 

 

The Senate on Tuesday at plenary called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu  to  urgently address the problem of hunger in the land caused by food insecurity which has created an emergency situation  .

 

Senate’s call for emergency action against food insecurity came  at the time the federal government deployed 60 trucks of fertilizers to each of the 36 States of the federation , two to each of the 109 senators and one to each of the 360 members of the House of Representatives for distribution to their constituents .

 

Senators  Sunday Karimi ( APC Kogi West) and Ali Ndume ( APC Borno  South) , in a co – sponsored motion during plenary ,  drew the attention of the Senate  to food insecurity and market exploitation of consumables in Nigeria which according to them , required very urgent action by the federal government .

 

Senator Karimi in his lead presentation on the motion noted  that in the last few months, the price of goods and household consumables have been on an abysmal rise in the country, leading to a high rate of inflation, weakened buying power, and general worsening of living conditions of vast majority of Nigerians.

 

He quoted the latest data of National Bureau of Statistics which   shows that food inflation in the country skyrocketed to 40.66 percent on a year-on-year basis, a significant increase from the 24.82 percent recorded in May 2023 to buttress his point .

 

He lamented further that   the current market price of food items such as beans, maize, rice paddy, yam, tomatoes, and onions which initially rose by about 40% after the removal of petroleum Subsidy has now increased to over 100% to 300% without any attributable reason for the increase in prices.

 

According to him,  although insecurity in food-producing regions, bad roads, increase in the cost of transportation attributable to the removal of fuel subsidy and depreciation of the value of Naira, are possible factors that have contributed to the increase in price of Food items, Household Commodities, and Consumables; but the percentage of increase in cost of transportation and some under factors listed above, is significantly less than the percentage increase in the current prices of goods all over the country.

 

He specifically stated that the greater percentage of the increase in prices of food items and consumables in the Country is largely  due to  the zest of the merchants, traders, and retailers to make supernormal profits whilst they excuse the hike in price on  factors like the  (depreciation of the Naira against the Dollar, increase in price of Petroleum Products due to Fuel price increase and insecurity in farming Regions), thereby heaping all the blame on the Federal Government.

 

” There is a general attitude of “Get Rich Quickly” or “Get Rich By All Means” leading many Nigerians to jettison “being their brother’s keeper” and exploiting one another to make abnormal profits.

 

“This attitude has been justified on the basis that many members of the Political Class, Technocrats, and Corporate Elites have helped themselves with Public Funds without any repercussions in Law, Nigerian Traders have thus resorted to Price Gouging to maximize profits”, he said .

 

In his contribution to the notion , Senator Ahmad Lawan ( APC Yobe North ) , said the tolerance and endurance of Nigerians on the food crisis should not be taken for granted by government at all levels .

 

” The Senate must engage the Executive immediately on this worrisome issue of food crisis  because we cannot take people for granted for too long. People have come almost to the end of their patience.

 

“it is time that we take every possible action together with government to ensure that food flow in our country as silos are empty .

 

” The 1,200 bags of fertilizers ( 2 trucks ) , government wants to give each of the Senators for distribution to constituents , should be done fast as further delay , we render the intervention , useless “, he said.

 

In his own contribution , the Chairman , Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food Security , Senator Saliu Mustapha ( APC Kwara Central ) , informed the Senate that the Federal Government is already sending 60 trucks of fertilizers to each State of the federation , two trucks to each of the 109 Senatorial Districts and one truck to each of the 360 federal constituencies .

 

The President of the Senate , Godswill Akpabio in his remarks , said the food crisis facing the nation today , was a calamity  foretold through insurgency,  banditry and kidnapping , with attendant abandonment of farming by farmers .

 

” The present government inherited the problem and is tackling it headlong with appropriate actions ,  the latest  of which is the plan to waive tariffs on all imported food items ‘, he said .

 

As President inaugurates c’ttee on implementation of livestock reforms

 

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday in Abuja inaugurated the Presidential Committee on Implementation of Livestock Reforms to address obstacles to agricultural productivity and open up new opportunities which benefit farmers, herders, processors, and distributors in the livestock-farming value chain.

The President appointed former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, as Co-Chairman of the Committee.

He stressed that the implementation of the reforms will require the collective efforts of members of the committee, drawn from the public and private sectors, state governors, and all Nigerians.

“From here, I will appeal to everyone to remove every iota of partisan politics from this. I will assume the chairmanship of the committee as President and appoint Professor Attahiru Jega as my deputy or co-chair.

“This is not about politics; this is about opportunity. This is about our nation. While I may be absent, Jega will preside and continue to promote our objectives,’’ the President said.

Inaugurating the committee in the Council Chamber at the State House, the President thanked the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje for his efforts in assembling experienced and reputable experts to ensure the activation of opportunities in the livestock sector, stating that a Ministry of Livestock Development will be created to further explore the potential in the area.

“When we have great opportunities in our states, why should Nigerians continue to experience conflicts?

“With the calibre of people that are here, this presents a unique opportunity also to delineate and establish a centric ministry called the Ministry of Livestock Development. It will give us the opportunity so that our veterinary doctors can have the necessary access to research and cross-breed. We can stop the wanton killings,’’ he added.

The President noted that the traditional method of livestock farming will need to be reviewed and repositioned with the support of stakeholders, which include state governments, in order to open up new opportunities for growth and prosperity.

He said the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) will ensure the removal of all legal obstacles to the implementation of the reforms, while the Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani will provide support with automation.

“Modern technology is available to us. We are ready to work. I said at the beginning, with you, all of you, the solution is here, and we must run with it. Any law that might inhibit the promotion and actualization of our objectives, the Attorney-General is here, please give it a priority; and the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning is here; create a budget for it to grow, and the Minister of Finance is here as well to work out the money,’’ the President stated.

He also said the reforms will be comprehensive and collective, urging the support of all stakeholders.

“We need to provide the incentive to enable Nigeria to finally take advantage of livestock farming; dairy products and cold-chain logistics collectively offer substantial commercial and economic advantages. We have seen solutions and opportunities. With these adversities that have plagued us over the years, I believe that prosperity is here – in your hands.

“The dairy industry contributes significantly to nutrition and food security by supplying essential proteins and vitamins, through milk and its derivatives, such as cheese, yoghurt, and butter. Efficient cold-chain logistics is crucial in maintaining the quality and safety of these perishable goods from farms to markets, thereby reducing food waste and ensuring a steady supply.

“This sector will boost agricultural productivity, enhance export opportunities and stimulate economic growth by fostering a robust value chain that benefits farmers, processors, herders, distributors, and consumers alike,’’ he said.

Tinubu thanked the APC National Chairman for his initiative and leadership of the committee.

“Let me thank the former Governor of Kano State and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, for assembling the best minds and experts to find solutions by convening the National Conference on Livestock Reforms and Mitigation of Associated Conflicts in Nigeria in February last year,” the President said.

In his remarks, the former Chairman of the committee thanked the President for taking further action, following the submission of a report on livestock reforms on September 28, 2023.

“We will surpass your expectations and bring succour to Nigerians. Once, again, we thank the President,’’ the APC National Chairman added according to a statement by Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity)

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