President Muhammadu Buhari has cited prevalence of excessive flooding, insecurity and unscrupulous practices of food products’ middlemen as some of the reasons for current high cost of food commodities in the market.
Buhari offered the explanation on Monday in his Sallah message to Nigerians, especially Muslims, to mark this year’s Eid El-Kabir celebration.
The President also restated the determination of his administration to create a just, harmonious and prosperous country in which the safety of life and property is assured.
According to his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President, observed his administration, more than any other before, had put huge investment into the agricultural sector.
He appealed to Nigerians to be patient with the administration over the situation, assuring government was already working on easing the tension caused by some of the mentioned factors.
Reflecting on current challenges facing the country, the President stated: “COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the economies of all countries, including Nigeria, in addition to the fact that floods have caused large scale destruction to agricultural farmlands, thereby impacting negatively on our efforts to boost local production in line with our policy to drastically reduce food importation.
“This, he explains, has led to food inflation which the government is working hard to address.
According to Buhari: “No government in our recent history has invested as heavily as we are doing to promote local production of about 20 other commodities, through the provision of loans and several other forms of support to our farmers.
He said: “Apart from the destruction caused to rice farms by floods, middlemen have also taken advantage of the local rice production to exploit fellow Nigerians, thereby undermining our goal of supporting local food production at affordable prices.”
“As an elected President who enjoys the goodwill of the ordinary people that gave us their mandate, let me assure you that we are continuing with measures to bring relief to Nigerians, including making fertilizer available at affordable prices to our farmers.”
The President also notes that the current insecurity in the country “has produced severe and adverse effects on agriculture because farmers are prevented from accessing their farms by bandits and terrorists.”
“Let me also use this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that we are taking measures to address our security challenges.
“We have started taking delivery of fighter aircraft and other necessary military equipment and hardware to improve the capacity of our security forces to confront terrorism and banditry,” he adds.
“Taking advantage of the celebration to exploit fellow citizens through outrageous prices of food and rams is inconsistent with fine virtues of Islam.
“As practising believers, we shouldn’t seek obscene profits by making life difficult and miserable for others.
“We should not seek happiness at the expense of others. Remember that Islam is a religion of charity that urges us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.
“I urge all Muslims to continue to live in peace and harmony with their fellow Nigerians of other faiths in the spirit of peaceful coexistence.
“Let us pray for the progress of Nigeria at all times. Let us expose undesirable elements among us who are creating security problems for the country.”