….As federal lawmakers raise alarm over hunger and famine induced deaths in North East
By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Federal Government lamented on Monday that the Naira re-design policy carried out by the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) from December 15, 2022 to early February this year when Supreme Court ruled against it ran farmers bankrupt.
In a similar lamentation , federal lawmakers declared that the rate of hunger and famine in the land is resulting into deaths of the poor in rural areas .
Lamentations on effects of the controversial naira re-design which later landed the initiator, Emefiele in detention since June this year and hunger arising from insecurity, came to the fore, during budget defence session of the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari had before the National Assembly joint committee on Agriculture.
In his presentation before the joint committee chaired by Senator Saliu Mustapha ( APC Kwara Central) , the Agric Minister said the focus of the 2024 budgetary proposals for the sector is to achieve food security in the country.
According to him , several factors like insecurity and naira re-design policy carried out about a year ago impoverished the farmers and severely threatened food security in the country .
“The cash crunch caused by the Naira re-design made most of the farmers sold their farm produce at give away price for survival, since buyers couldn’t access cash to buy the produce from them.
“The policy which coincided with harvest season, ended rendering the farmers empty financially “, he said.
In their separate remarks at the session, Hon Dahiru Ismaila Haruna from Toro Federal Constituency in Bauchi State and Hon Ademorin Kuye from Shomolu Federal Constituency, Lagos State, raised the alarmed on urgent need by the federal government to address the high rate of hunger in the country largely caused by insecurity.
Hon Haruna in his remarks said,” Hon Minister, being from the North East, the picture i’m about to paint shouldn’t be strange to you at all.
“The pathetic picture of people dying of hunger on daily basis while majority of those surviving feed once a day.
“Making it worrisome is the fact that even people from neighbouring countries like Chad, Niger, Benin Republic and Central Aftrica are trooping in to mop up the little food, signalling total famine in the area if not urgently addressed by stockpilling the silos”.
But Hon Ademorin in his own remarks, wrote off the silos by putting it to the Minister that most of the silos built by President Jonathan administration are alleged to be concession for N20million each.
The Minister however in his response, assured the lawmakers that all issues raised are being addressed and would be decisively addressed in the 2024 fiscal year.
Kyari said food security is the number one out of the 8- point agenda of President Bola Tinubu administration and that the Ministry has repositioned itself for actualization of the agenda.
According to him, some of the action plans already being implemented to ensure food security in the country aside securing of the farmlands by security agencies are, “certification of available planting materials for some food security crops in readiness for dry season farming.
“Reviewing the mechanisms and processes for delivering fertilizers and agro pesticides input to farmers under a transparent and accountable regime.
“Fast-tract the take off and operations of the National Agricultural Development fund.
“Implement a joint action plan with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to unlock the huge irrigation potentials of the River Basins Development Authorities and other flood plains in the country to guarantee all year round food production etc”.
He earlier in his submission told the committee members that for the 2024 fiscal year, a total of N362.940billion was earmarked for the sector out of which N124.1billion is for the Ministry.
The breakdown of the N124.1billion according to him, shows that N10.6billion is for personnel cost, N1.34billion for overhead and N112.497billion for capital expenditure.