President Goodluck Jonathan
By Muhammad Bello and Senator Iroegbu
President Goodluck Jonathan has called on Nigerians not to panic in the face of the perennial flooding that may occasion food shortage as a result of significant drop in the harvest of grains and other foodstuff.
Reports had hinted that the nation is on the verge of a food crisis as there are no grains in the over N140 billion Federal Government silos across the country.
However, Jonathan assured Nigerians Friday after he had audience with the delegation of Muslim community in Abuja, led by Vice President Namadi Sambo, that there was enough grains in the nation's reserve to forestall food crisis despite the ravaging flood in many parts of the country.
Expressing dismay at the activities of hoarders who anticipate grains scarcity, the President said: "I want to use this opportunity to tell Nigerians that people should not be afraid that there will be hunger in the land.
"I am getting some reports that some people who are selfish are already trying to hoard grains. We have enough grains in our strategic reserve that will serve this country.
"Also, the percentage of flooded farmlands is not enough to threaten food security. We will publish the figure later.
"Nigerians should not be afraid that the flooding will cause food scarcity. We have enough grains that will reduce the stress in the market.
"Those already hoarding will be doing so to their own disadvantage because by the time they bring out their grains, the price will collapse.
"Let me use this opportunity to plead with those people not to do things that are not in the best interest of our people", he said.
The President appealed to the delegation, which also had Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory, Olajumoke Akinjide, to call on Nigerians to contribute their widow’s mite in assisting the flood victims.
He urged Nigerians to continue to support his administration with prayers so that it can surmount the various challenges facing the country, stressing that the challenges faced by nation and individuals were part of life, assuring that his administration was doing everything possible to surmount Nigeria's challenges.
"This is a moment that I crave the indulgence of all Nigerians and all religious leaders to pray for peace and unity of our great country People look forward for peace in the land I believe that with your continuous prayers, this country will surely succeed.
"As a nation, we have challenges: flood as well as security challenges, but we are working very hard to overcome them.
"I always believe that as a nation or individuals, we must face challenges. All nations face challenges. Surely we will convert anything that poses as challenges to our own advantage. We will get over them.
"You all know that even in the days of the prophets, there were wars they fought, those were major challenges they were able to overcome," he added.