Protests: FG Planning Large Importation Food If Hunger Persists

by Ohepo Ohepo

ABUJA – The Federal Government announced yesterday its contemplation of importing food as a critical measure to curb the surging prices of food items and alleviate the hardships faced by Nigerians.

In the meantime, authorities have commanded the immediate release of 102,000 metric tonnes of rice and maize from the national grain reserves.

This was revealed by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, during a briefing with State House correspondents after the Special Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention’s meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Idris communicated the President’s directive to ensure food availability at any cost following three days of committee deliberations, sparked by public protests against the rising cost of food and other economic hardships.

Furthermore, the minister indicated that the government would impose sanctions on individuals hoarding food items, emphasizing the necessity for emergency actions to guarantee food accessibility for Nigerians. He urged national solidarity and discouraged food hoarding, while the government plans substantial investments in food production.

Regarding the potential need for food importation to continue if hardships persist, Idris mentioned, “The government is also considering, as a short-term interim measure if absolutely required, the importation of certain food commodities to quickly make them available to Nigerians in the coming weeks.”

Idris outlined the meeting’s outcomes, highlighting immediate measures to ensure food availability, including the directive for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to release approximately 42,000 metric tons of maize, millet, garri, and other commodities from strategic reserves. Additionally, in collaboration with the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria, about 60,000 metric tons of rice will be released to the market to help reduce food prices significantly.

These actions are part of emergency measures to lower food item costs. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture is directed to make extensive investments to enhance Nigeria’s status as a food basket, anticipating that upcoming dry season farming will further reduce food prices.

Idris also warned against food hoarding, stating the government’s readiness to take emergency measures to ensure food availability and affordability. He concluded by calling for patriotism among Nigerians and traders, urging reasonable pricing to support the national effort during this emergency.

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