Hunger: Nigeria sitting on keg of gunpowder – Sultan

Sultan of Sokoto.
Sultan of Sokoto.
Hunger: Nigeria sitting on keg of gunpowder – Sultan

The Sultan of Sokoto and Chairman of the Northern Traditional Rulers Council, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has expressed fear that with millions of Nigerian youths left without jobs and food, Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder.

This came two days after the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, had decried the ravaging hunger and starvation in the land.


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Speaking at the 6th Executive Committee Meeting of the Northern Traditional Rulers Council yesterday in Kaduna, the Sultan said the economic hardship in Nigeria had reached a level where citizens were agitated, angry and hungry.

He said: “We have now entered into a new cycle of leadership. Some new governors have come on board, while some are having their second term and still, we are faced with these insecurity issues.

“To make matters worse, we are faced with the rising level of poverty. Most of our people lack normal sources of livelihood.

“However, I believe talking about insecurity and the rising level of poverty are two issues that we cannot fold our arms and think everything is okay. I have said it so many times and at so many fora that things are not okay in Nigeria and of course, things are not okay in the North,” he stressed.

He said if the governors want to have peace and stability in their states, they also must work with the traditional institution.

“We must find jobs for our teeming youths that are sitting idle and I have said it so many times, we are sitting on a keg of gunpowder; teeming youths, millions of them without jobs, without food. We are looking for trouble,” he warned.

He said Nigeria never lacked solutions to its problems but implementation had always been poor.

“I believe at the end of this meeting, we should have very good suggestions to our political leaders, to our security chiefs, that when such are implemented, we will have a better North, and at the same time have a better Nigeria,” the Sultan said.

He said to make far-reaching impact, the council invited the leadership of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) and Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) to join the deliberations and make suggestions on how to end the problems bedeviling the North.

The Sultan, therefore, tasked them to bring solutions to education, health, insecurity and poverty problems facing the North.

“We’ve reached that level, people are very agitated, people are hungry, they are angry. But they still believe some people can talk to them; they believe in some of their governors, traditional rulers and religious leaders.

“So, we have this onerous task of reaching out to everybody, calm them down and assure them things will be okay; and they should continue to pray and pray and still do something good because prayer without work will not bring anything,” he added.

42,000MT of grains coming – FG

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, yesterday said the federal government would distribute 42,000 metric tonnes of grains free of charge to Nigerians as approved by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

He stated this at a ministerial press briefing in Abuja.

He said officials of his ministry had met with the National Emergency Agency (NEMA) and the Department of State Services (DSS) on the modalities for the distribution, in order to ensure that the grains reach the targeted citizens.

The minister said the food items would be released from the 53,000 metric tons in the strategic reserve.

He said food security was partially challenged by some factors, including flooding and insecurity.

He noted that the government was trying to crash prices and make food available to the citizens.

He said the government would enhance its ability to produce three million tons of rice during the dry season.

He also said the government had a target to produce about 2.5 to 3 million tons during the current dry season farming.

Kyari said the government had met with rice millers and other commodity producers as some of them had huge silos in their factories where food was stored.

He stated: “So we did some background checks of what is available. That is not to say that the farmers are going to produce 60,000 tons, no. They have them in storage; we are asking them to hand it over for the government to off-take, so that it can be given out to the population. We’re still working out the modality on how it is going to be. As soon as we conclude on this, we’ll roll out the programme.”

The minister further said: “This 42,000MT is going to the needy free of charge. It will be directly to the needy at no cost.

Kyari also said the federal government plans to involve state governors in identifying real farmers that would benefit from interventions to enable them to produce more food.

He described the discovery “political farmers” in the farmers’ database kept by the ministry as unhelpful in the food production value chain.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said the briefing was to explain to Nigerians, the five pillars of the administration’s renewed hope agenda which are to restore trust, amplify policies and programmes, reorient national values, modernize technology and talents and to create an enabling environment for the media to operate.

Crashing price is better – Expert tells FG

Faulting the federal government’s move to distribute the grains for free, Kabiru Alhaji Ahmed Roni, a fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants of England and Wales, said that the palliative distribution of the government may not work as it cannot be sustained.

He said this on Wednesday night while featuring on Trust TV’s Daily Politics programme.

Roni, also a former Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in Abuja and Niger State, said, “Actually, Nigerians don’t need palliatives as being proposed by government. What we need is food that is available and affordable for the generality of Nigerian masses. I saw it today (Wednesday) in one village, people are breaking ant-hill to remove grains because of hunger.

“But mind you, there is something that the government has to be very careful in doing free distribution of free food. Is it sustainable? May be not, so the best thing is to sell it at very affordable prices, to crash the prices, so that people who had already put away foodstuff in their warehouses in order to take advantage would have to bring their food and sell them because the price has crashed.

“If for example, a bag of rice is selling at N70,000, may be the government can come and say a bag of rice is now N25,000 or less for people to buy. This can solve the problem better than give them free food because it cannot be continuous and cannot be sustainable. It could be the beginning of getting the problem resolved,” Roni said.

CAN to govt: Take concrete action

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday urged governments at all levels to take concrete measures to support Nigerians facing economic hardship and bring prosperity.

CAN President Archbishop Daniel Okoh, made the call in a statement he signed as part of the Ash Wednesday/Lent message.

“I call on our leaders at every level of governance to acknowledge the severity of the economic issues confronting our nation and to take immediate, concrete actions to support individuals enduring economic hardship.

“Let’s work together to create a Nigeria where compassion and support for our fellow citizens are at the heart of our values and actions,” Okoh said.

NBA too

On its part, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) yesterday called on President Tinubu to take emergency action on security and the economy.

NBA President Yakubu Maikyau made the call during a press briefing on the state of the nation.

He said Nigeria was ravaged by bandits and terrorists and the scourge of kidnapping for ransom, noting that the control of parts of the country by criminal elements should be treated as a treasonable felony. He said, “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu must show demonstrable commitment to prioritize the security of the lives and properties of Nigerians as already committed by him.”

He condemned the civilianisation of the Nigerian military through deployment in several theatres which, he said, was weakening the Nigeria Police in its traditional role.

On the economy, Maikyau blamed the woes on policy inconsistency which resulted in weakened economic fundamentals including sluggish economic growth.

“The direct result of these is the low standard of living, the alarming rate of poverty, high unemployment rate and the wide disparity in the socio-economic status of the Nigerian population,” he said.

Govs take decisions

Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum yesterday said there was urgent need to address hardships in the land ahead of Ramadan.

He told traders that they must prepare to sacrifice in order to help the already distressed people in the state.

Zulum informed the traders of his intention to establish rice plantations and revive floor mill to cushion the effect of inflation.

In Ogun State, Governor Dapo Abiodun on Wednesday announced a N5 billion intervention fund across all sectors of the economy.

This followed the spreading protests nationwide over growing economic hardship in Nigeria.

He said: “Our administration acknowledges the concerns raised by many of our citizens regarding the rising food prices coupled with the depreciation of the naira. We are taking proactive measures to alleviate the impact of these challenges to guarantee the welfare, well-being and wellness of our citizens this difficult time.

“In the education sector, we will be providing a one-time intervention, the first instance of N10, 000 education support grant for at least 100,000 pupils in our public primary and secondary schools in the state.

“We will provide 27,600 indigent students in tertiary institutions nationwide with an education grant of N50, 000 each.

“We will be providing of food palliatives to include rice and other food items for about 300,000 households across the state,” he said. Also, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu yesterday flagged off implementation of the Lagos Market Trader Money, providing 15,000 market traders with N50,000.00 each, amounting to N750 million.

He said: “This initiative was conceptualized as a stop-gap measure of the state government to empower small-scale traders in the food systems by providing them financial support to expand their businesses, thereby fostering economic growth and improving the lives of many within the State.

“This will ensure sustainable livelihoods and facilitate business expansion for 15,000 traders who occupy a strategic position in the state’s economic pyramid and food distribution network.”

Daily Trust


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