FG Convenes Emergency Meeting to Address Rising Food Prices

FG Convenes Emergency Meeting to Address Rising Food Prices

.Insists no food shortage in the country

.Accuses opposition of using high cost of food, naira depreciation to cause crisis

.Pleads with millers, major commodity traders to make their reserves available 

Deji Elumoye in Abuja 

The Federal Government has convened an emergency meeting to address spate of protests in some parts of the country due to rising cost of food prices across the country.

Youths in Minna, Niger State had on Monday blocked the ever-busy Minna-Bida Road at the popular Kpakungu Roundabout and called on the administration of President Bola Tinubu to address the problem of ‘hunger in the land.’

The meeting held on Tuesday evening at the State House, Abuja was presided over by the Chief of Staff to the President, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila is coming on the heels of the protests by angry youths in Minna, Niger State capital and Kano over the rising cost of living in the country.

The ‘crucial’ meeting attended by members of the Special Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention was aimed at arresting the brewing crisis as a result of the soaring prices of food items and its attendant hardship on the citizenry.

Briefing newsmen after the over three-hour long meeting, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, expressed President Bola Tinubu’s concerning over the worsening food crisis in the country.

According to him, the President has directed that the situation should be arrested by the Presidential Committee in order to reduce hardship on the populace.

The Minister, who emphasised that there is enough food in the country, added that some elements are trying to take advantage of the high food prices and the depreciation of naira to cause havoc.

His words: “We just rounded off a meeting. It is a special presidential committee to address the issue of food shortage or lack of enough food on the table of most Nigerians. ⁣

“This is just the beginning of that meeting. It is going to continue tomorrow and day after tomorrow. The government is very concerned about what Nigerians are going through, especially what has happened in Minna yesterday, and therefore government is taking some action to ensure that Nigerians have some relief in terms of the availability of food on the table.⁣

“Of course, this meeting is not by itself exhaustive. It’s just like I said, the beginning. It is going to continue tomorrow and the day after. ⁣

“Now, some of these will involve unlocking the foods that are available in most of the storage facilities (National Food Reserve) around the country. You know that the Federal Minister of Agriculture has some food reserve. That is going to be made available to Nigerians.”

Idris said  government has opened up discussions with millers and major commodity traders on how to open up their stores to make food available to the teeming Nigerian populace.

According to him, “The government is also talking to major millers and major commodity traders, to also see what is available in their stores. To open it up, so that government will provide some intervention, discuss with them, provide some intervention to make this food available to Nigerians.⁣

“What the government is noticing is that actually there is still food in this country. Some people are taking advantage of the situation especially because of the high cost, the depreciation in the value of our currency that has led to the cost of these food items also going up.⁣

“So all these issues were discussed. The governor of central bank was here. The Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy is in that meeting. Of course, the Chief of Staff, the National Security Adviser, because he also has some national security implications. So all these have been discussed. And like I said, this conversation or discussion is going to to continue. ⁣

“What I will tell Nigerians is that the President has directed that government needs to step in to stem this tide.⁣ Government will not fold its arms and see the way Nigerians are suffering in terms of the availability of these food items. ⁣

“So I want to plead with you to understand with the government. By the time these meetings are concluded, we’ll be able to issue a definite statement on what the position of government is in this regard. But all I can say is that discussions are ongoing, and very soon a solution is in sight for Nigerians.⁣”

On whether there is any foreseeable action following the meeting, the Minister said, “Some of them are dependent on the follow-up meeting on all this hardship. The government is stepping in a big way to ensure that Nigerians have succour going forward.”

Tuesday’s meeting held behind closed-doors at the Office of the Chief of Staff was attended by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Yemi Cardoso; Ministers of Education, Dr Tahir Mamman; Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun;  Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu; Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari and Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Sabi Abdullahi.

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