The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government to address what it called the worsening food insecurity now threatening millions of Nigerians under his watch.
This is even as the main opposition party noted that under Buhari, “over 82.9million Nigerians can no longer afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector, thereby leading to severe food scarcity with prices soaring beyond the reach of Nigerians.”
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP claimed that as a result of the leadership of Buhari, “Our country now ranks as 98 out of 107 in Global Hunger Index, with an agonizing food shortage, collapsed purchasing power; alarming 33.3 per cent unemployment and 22.95 per cent food inflation rates as well as increased morbidity and mortality rates.”
The statement read, “Today, under the APC, a bag of rice which sold for N8,000 under the PDP now sells for N30,000, a measure of garri and beans which sold for N150 and N250 now sell for N500 and N800, respectively; a measure of maize and guinea corn which sold for about N150 now sells for N400 while a kilo of meat which sold for about N800 now sells for about N2,300.
“Our party notes that the current food crisis is occasioned by the failure of the APC administration to recalibrate our agricultural sector as well as to take decisive steps to address the violence, terrorism and banditry in food production areas.
“Nigerians recall how the APC administration had remained insensitive to calls by our party and well-meaning Nigerians asking it to address the escalated violent attacks and killing of farmers as well as livestock producers, by bandits, terrorists and criminal herders resulting in desertion of farms in various parts of our country.
“Nigerians can also recall the response of the APC administration to the beheading of 43 rice farmers in Borno State, wherein it heaped blames on the slain patriots instead of immediately tracking down their killers and ensuring the security of our farmers in the area.
“Under the APC and Buhari watch, our farmers now overflow in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), camps as their fields and farmhouses have been overrun by bandits and terrorists, including political mercenaries brought into the country by the APC to assist in unleashing violence to rig the 2019 general election.
“Moreover, escalated insecurity on our highways has also hampered production and distribution value chain, with no hope in sight.
“Our party charges President Buhari to take urgent steps to address the urgent issue of hunger by opening our silos to cushion the situation and push down prices.”
“The Federal Government should also realign the agricultural sector by beefing up security in food production areas so that our farmers can return to the farmland.
“The PDP also believe that the time has come for President Buhari to provide direct stimuli to small businesses as incentive to pay salaries, revamp production and boost purchasing power.
“Moreover, President Buhari should take steps to recover the over N15trillion stolen by APC leaders and channel part of it to emergency action for food security in our country, before it is too late.”
Fubara Promises To Maximise Youth Potentials In Rivers
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has affirmed his administration’s focus in prioritising policies that will maximise the potentials of the youths in the State.
Fubara made this declaration yesterday at the State NYSC permanent orientation camp, Nonwa-Gbam Tai, in Tai Local Government Area during the swearing-in ceremony of 2024 Batch A Stream 1 corps members deployed to Rivers State.
This was contained in a statement by the Head of Press Unit, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Juliana Masi, yesterday.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Services Bureau, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Sir Samson Friday Dede, the governor commended the NYSC Scheme for the positive impacts it is making in the nation’s quest for sustained development.
“My administration will be unwavering and fully focused in supporting the youths in maximizing their potentials”, he said.
He assured the corps members of his administration’s commitment in supporting them to achieve the mandate of uniting and integrating to the nation.
The governor further admonished corps members to take full advantage of the camp programmes and activities to equip themselves to contribute to nation building.
Earlier, Coordinator, NYSC, Rivers State, Mr. George Mfongang, had urged the corps members to be in the forefront of the nation’s development by being hard working, disciplined and morally sound.
He commended them for being passionate and enthusiastic in imbibing the lessons of the orientation exercise.
The Coordinator thanked Governor Fubara for his unflinching commitment in ensuring the security and welfare of corps members in the State especially, the payment of State allowance to them.
A total of 1,585 Corps members made up of 819 males and 766 females took the oath of allegiance at the ceremony that was administered by Justice Ibiwengi Roseline Minakiri.
FG, Cement Manufacturers Agree On N7,000, N8,000 For 50kg Per Bag
The Federal Government and cement manufacturers have agreed on a N7,000 to N8,000 per 50 kg bag price of cement to halt the astronomical rise in the price of the product.
This agreement was part of a deal struck after several hours of meeting held behind closed doors at the headquarters of the Ministry of Works, between the Federal Government and cement manufacturers , in Abuja, yesterday.
The manufacturers agreed to sell a 50kg bag of cement at a retail price between N7,000 and N8,000, depending on location nationwide.
They, however put a caveat that the price drop from the current market price would largely depend on government fulfilling its promised interventions in certain areas of concern to ameliorate critical challenges faced in the industry.
Retail price for cement jumped from N5,000 to N10,000 within one week in the open market, after wholesalers, citing increasing cost of transportation and other variables, made adjustments to the price they sell to retailers.
Retailers in turn transferred the additional cost burden to consumers to stay afloat.
This prompted President Bola Tinubu to order the Ministers of Works, David Umahi and his Trade and Investment counterpart, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite. to meet with cement manufacturers to find a solution to the crisis.
Umahi had, while calling for the meeting, expressed the Federal Government’s concern over the development, adding that if the situation wasn’t brought under control, it had the potential of hurting the prosperity agenda of the current administration.
After the meeting, Umahi read out a communique in which he mentioned concerns raised by the manufacturers.
These concerns include: bad roads, smuggling, high cost of energy, and the Forex crisis. This according to the manufacturers were the primary reasons behind the price hike.
He also said the manufacturers which include Dangote Cement PLC, BUA Cement PLC, Larfarge Africa PLC and Cement Producers Association, expressed willingness to reduce the prices going forward.
Representatives of the Federal Government include the Minister of Works and his counterpart in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
While reading the communique, Umahi said: “The meeting noted the challenges of the manufacturers like: cost of gas; high import duty on spare parts; bad road network; high foreign exchange; and smuggling of cement to neighbouring nations.
“The government noted the challenges and reacted as follows: Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to seek some remedies from Mr. President on cost of gas and import duties.”
We Are Hungry, Dying, Ibadan Protesters Tell Tinubu
Thousands of people, on Monday, thronged the major streets of Ibadan in Oyo State, to protest the hardship in the country.
The protesters, who are mainly youths, kept saying they were not out to cause trouble, but to call the attention of all the tiers of governments to the unbearable hardship in the country.
Though they did not use any objects to block the roads, they converged on accesses leading to the University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, Sango, Dugbe and Eleyele, thereby blocking vehicular traffic.
They displayed several placards with inscriptions such as ‘Give us good health, End bad governance, End food hike, Open border, End hardship, ‘Is this the renewed hope you promised?’
At intervals, organisers of the protest kept updating the security agents who kept vigilance to arrest anyone who caused problem or hijacked the protest for selfish ends.
During the protest, some schools and banks shut their gates.
The Tide learnt that the protest was convened through the social media.
One of the messages sent by the conveners read, “People should not pass through Mokola roundabout because there will be protest on Monday”.
The message advised that motorists should take alternative routes to their destinations.
A lady who refused to disclose her name, caught the attention of many people with a placard that read: ‘Sanitary pad now costs N4,000; we can’t be using cloth, Please, help us’. Nothing should happen to me. All I’m asking for is my legitimate earning and ease of life.’
Another woman, who identified herself as Mobolaji Inaolaji, one of the coordinators, said: “We want to tell our leaders that things are not right, they should make things easier for us. We are not here to cause violence, things are too costly and people are dying.
“It is our right to protest whether we got permit or not. We have told the security agents that they should arrest whoever causes problem. We are peaceful and law abiding. All we want is to make government know our pains. We will go through most parts of the city.”
Other protesters who were speaking with anger, said: “This problem is too much. Whoever wants to arrest me should come and do so. If we don’t die outside, we’ll die at home.”
After about an hour at Mokola, the protesters headed towards Sango and other parts of the city.
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