• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Ndume on food crisis: Tinubu has shut his doors, even ministers can’t see him


Ali Ndume, the chief whip of the senate, has expressed concerns regarding the escalating cost of living and food scarcity in Nigeria, saying it is more concerning because the president is not talking about it with ministers.

During an interview with BBC Hausa, Ndume highlighted the federal government’s struggle to address these pressing issues, noting that even some ministers face difficulties meeting with President Bola Tinubu to discuss them.

“The major problem with this government is that its doors are closed, to the extent that even some ministers cannot see the President, not to mention members of the National Assembly, who do not have the opportunity to meet with him and discuss the issues affecting their constituencies,” Ndume said.

His comments came shortly after he and Sunday Steve Karimi sponsored a motion about tackling the food crisis in the country.

The senators pointed out that the World Food Programme warned that 82 million Nigerians face food insecurity within the next five years.

Ndume emphasised the urgency of the situation, warning that without prompt government intervention, the country could face famine and starvation, particularly among children.

“We want to draw the government’s attention to the fact that Nigeria is not only facing a high cost of living but also food scarcity,” he said.

He cited instances of malnutrition among children in Katsina State as an example and compared the situation to the situation in Niger Republic and South Sudan, where children are dying due to hunger.

Ndume urged the government to take immediate action by consulting with experts and stakeholders to find viable solutions to the food crisis.

He expressed his disappointment over the government’s inaction despite its promises to address the issue.

The senator warned of a future where even those with the financial means might go to the market and find no food available.

“We fear that a day may come when even if someone has the financial means to purchase food, they will go to the market and find none available,” he said.

Ndume’s outburst comes as Nigerians all over the country battle economic hardships exacerbated by the food crisis.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said food inflation rose to 40.66 percent in May, compared to the 24.82 percent reported in the same month last year — indicating an increase of 15.84 percent.

The bureau said semovita, oatflake, yam flour prepackage, garri, bean, etc (which are under bread and cereals class), Irish potatoes, yam, water yam, etc (under potatoes, yam and other tubers class), contributed to the year-on-year increase in the food inflation rate.

Other contributors are palm oil, vegetable oil, etc (under oil and fat), stockfish, mudfish, crayfish, etc (under fish class), beef head, chicken-live, pork head, and bush meat (under meat class).

According to the 2023 State of Food Security and Nutrition World report, the number of food-insecure Nigerians has increased by 133 percent in three years. It jumped from 63.8 million between 2014 and 2016 to 148.7 million between 2020 and 2022.