We are hungry, Nigerians cry out •Fault Agriculture Minister

Posted by News Express | 20 October 2019 | 565 times

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•Agriculture Minister Sabo Nanono

Despite series of federal and state governments’ poverty alleviating intervention programs aimed at tackling hunger in the land, many Nigerians can still hardly get food to eat, let alone meet the human-designed three meals per day.

From Kano to Port Harcourt to Ibadan, the story is the same. There is massive hunger in the land, which clearly flies in the face of claims by the Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, to the contrary.

Sunday Telegraph survey carried out in Ibadan, Kano, Port Harcourt and Lagos, clearly showed that prices of goods and services are beyond the average Nigerian.

In Kano, because of the influx of migrants from  villages, towns and even outside the shores of Nigeria, it has become difficult if not impossible for many residents to enjoy the poverty alleviation programmes as many go to bed on empty stomachs.

he price of commodities heading northwards in Kano markets with paucity of funds have combined in making many hungry.

A retired civil servant, Sani Tijjani, who now lives from hand to mouth, even though he receives a monthly pension, says he is finding it difficult to feed his family.

“The situation we are in is so desperate, the alarming hunger in the land is so glaring. You could directly feel how I’m stinking, to show you that even to wash my clothes is a big deal, talk much less of what I would eat,” he told Sunday Telegraph.

Asked to compare the situation to that of the  Civil War and post war times, Sani said presently, the condition has not reached that of the Civil War time, but he stressed that there is hunger in the land and many homes have fallen victims of the situation.

An officer working with one of the banks in Kano, but who pleaded anonymity, told our Correspondent that he used to attend to one or two persons, but now, on a daily basis, more than 10 to 15 people come to solicit for one form of assistance or the other, which he is unable to meet.

In Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, the situation is not different. The prices of foodstuff are going through the roof.

A community leader in Olorunsogo, Ibadan, Mr Kehinde Ayelaagbe,72, bemoaned the current state of the economy, which he attributed  to the closure of borders by the Federal Government.

He said: “The costs of goods are now too high in Nigeria. The closure of borders at this austere period is so excruciating especially to the poor masses. Our local production has not reached the level being envisaged by our leaders. But I will not blame them because many of them do not know where the shoe pinches the common man since they live in comfort zone.”

For Alhaja Sekina Bayewumi, a rice merchant at Bodija Market, Ibadan, “The closure of borders has its positive and negative effects. If Nigeria must grow, we have to strive to attain economic independence. It is only that Rome was not built in a day. We need to endure a bit, though the cost of goods is now getting very high. The Federal Government should find some means of palliatives to cushion the effects. Though it is what we buy that we sell, reasonably, things are hard these days.”

In parts of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, many are not happy with the rising cost of foodstuff. Not quite long ago in this expensive city, it was possible for some residents to arm themselves with N200 and manage to buy cooked rice, beans and a piece of beef. But currently, it is difficult to feed with N200.

A tailor in Port Harcourt, who specializes in traditional outfits, Alake Ephraim, said that the country is going down very fast and that the Federal Government should take immediate action.

Ehpraim, who also works as an estate agent, said that rice which he used to buy in bags is now bought in paint buckets because “it is too expensive.”

For one-time head, Training Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Nigerian Army, Major General Ishola Williams (rtd), there is a lot wastage in the food chain.

“Go to the markets, there is a lot of rotten food and fruits,” he said in an interview with Sunday Telegraph.

He continued: “Upper class journalists like you eat and throw away the leftovers. It is the same with leftovers from bukas, restaurants and hotels etc. How do you transfer these leftovers to the hungry or stop the waste in the food chain?

“There is always the problem of storage and keeping food from getting bad. There are greedy traders who hoard or create artificial scarcity to make illegitimate and immoral gains.” (Sunday Telegraph)

Source: News Express

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