The Nigerian government has expressed regrets over the current food crisis in the country and, in response, reassured the citizens that it will release food items from the National Food Reserves as a strategy to lower food prices.
Naija News reports that this announcement was made yesterday by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris.
Idris, who spoke following a meeting of the Special Presidential Committee in Emergency Food Intervention, which was called upon by President Bola Tinubu, said the federal government is also in talks with some major millers and major commodity traders across the country to see what is available in their stores.
The meeting, organized by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, is part of the government’s efforts to address the increasing food prices in the country.
Idris further stated that the government will collaborate with major millers and commodity traders to ensure the availability of food items.
The minister said: “We just rounded off a meeting. It is a special presidential committee to address the issue of food shortage or lack of enough food on the table of most Nigerians.
“What I will tell Nigerians is that the President has directed that government needs to step in to stem this tide. The government will not fold its arms and see the way Nigerians are suffering in terms of the availability of these food items.
“Now, some of these will involve unlocking the foods that are available in most of the storage facilities (National Food Reserve) around the country. You know that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has some food reserves. They are going to be made available to Nigerians.
“The government is also talking to major millers and major commodity traders, to also see what is available in their stores. To open it up, so the government will provide some intervention, discuss with them and provide some intervention to make this food available to Nigerians.”
He, however, alleged that some disgruntled Nigerians were taking advantage of the situation, adding that there is still food in this country.
Idris said: “What the government is noticing is that there is still food in this country. Some people are taking advantage of the situation, especially because of the high cost and the depreciation in the value of our currency that has led to the cost of these food items also going up.
“All these issues were discussed; the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Yemi Cardoso) was at the meeting. The Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy (Wale Edun) were there, and of course, the Chief of Staff and the National Security Adviser were there. The NSA was there because of some national security implications.
“All these have been discussed and like I said, this conversation or discussion is going to continue.”
Assuring that the Federal Government would continue to take steps to ameliorate the current situation, the Minister said: “This is just the beginning of that meeting. It is going to continue tomorrow (today) and the day after tomorrow. The government is very concerned about what Nigerians are going through, especially what happened in Minna yesterday (Monday). The government is taking some action to ensure that Nigerians have some relief in terms of the availability of food on their tables. Of course, this meeting is not by itself exhaustive. It’s just like I said, the beginning.
“I want to plead with you to understand with the government. By the time these meetings are concluded, we’ll be able to issue a definite statement on what the position of government is in this regard. But all I can say is that discussions are ongoing, and very soon, a solution will be in sight.”
Idris mentioned that certain actions are contingent upon the subsequent meeting regarding this challenging situation. He reiterated that the government is taking significant measures to ensure that Nigerians receive relief.
Naija News reports that the federal government’s decision is coming after the House of Representatives decried the state of hunger currently in Nigeria, appealing to the Federal Government to promptly unlock the food reserves and allocate grains to impoverished citizens.
Doing so, the lawmakers believe, will address the prevailing hunger crisis in the country.
The call was after the approval of a motion of utmost national significance, put forth by the elected representative of Ifo/Ewekoro Federal Constituency in Ogun State, Ibrahim Isiaka.
Isiaka, taking charge of the discussion, highlighted the challenging nature of the cost of living for Nigerians.
He expressed his concern over the escalating price of cement, despite having access to all the necessary raw materials for its production.