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Nationwide Hunger: Niger bans sales, distribution of food, farm produce to other states in Nigeria

Governor Mohammed Umar Bago has temporarily banned the sale and distribution of food items and other farm produce in Niger to other states in Nigeria.

• February 9, 2024
Governor Mohammed Umar Bago and Farm produce
Governor Mohammed Umar Bago and Farm produce

Governor Mohammed Umar Bago has temporarily banned the sale and distribution of food items and other farm produce in Niger to other states in Nigeria.

The declaration by the governor on Thursday followed the growing hunger experienced in Niger and the country at large, occasioned by the rising inflation, removal of petrol subsidy, floating of the naira, and insecurity under President Bola Tinubu’s government.

Mr Bago said, “Trucks who come to pack or buy foodstuffs from our villagers in bulk should be halted for now. We have stopped mass purchase(s) from our local markets in all our local governments from now henceforth until further notice.”

The Niger governor added, “Anybody found doing that, we have given security agencies the go-ahead to confiscate those trucks and share the food with the people.”

The governor’s move is geared towards having enough food and farm produce for residents in the state to address the hunger and poverty ravaging the state.

Meanwhile, Mr Tinubu has directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to release about 42,000 metric tonnes of grain, including maize, millet and garri.

Similarly, the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria also committed to immediately releasing over 60,000 metric tonnes of rice to the public.

The minister of information and national orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this after the meeting of the presidential committee on emergency food intervention on Thursday in Abuja.

He said these were immediate measures the federal government took to reduce the hardships faced by Nigerians who are made to bear the brunt of high food prices in the market.

“These will be made available and we know that that is enough to take Nigeria in the next couple of weeks. One month, six weeks, perhaps up to two months. Now, the whole idea of this is to crush the cost of these food items. And these are measures that will happen immediately.

“Now, the third item is that government is also looking at the possibility of, if it becomes absolutely necessary and as an interim measure, to also import some of these commodities immediately so that these commodities can be made available to Nigerians,” he said.

Mr Idris also said the ministry would invest massively in farming to boost production and fully exploit the country’s food potential.

He said the government would appeal to persons or groups to stop hoarding these products to maximise profit to the detriment of ordinary Nigerians.

“Government, of course, is also looking at all those who are hoarding these commodities because, actually, these commodities are available in the stores of many traders. Government is appealing to them that they should open up these doors and make these commodities available in the interest of our nation.

“There is no point when the whole country is looking for this food. You are locking up these products where you make more money, and then Nigerians suffer. Of course, the government will not fold its arms,” the minister explained.

He stressed that the government would also ensure that food continues to be accessible and affordable to Nigerians.

“This is an emergency situation. Every nation faces emergency situations. This is our own time to face these challenges,” stated Mr Idris. “The President has directed that whatever it will take, food will be available to Nigerians at a cost that is also very reasonable.”

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