Hardship: Nigeria Sitting On Keg Of Gunpowder – Sultan

By Chijioke Kingsley

Abuja (Sundiata Post) –

The Sultan of Sokoto and Chairman of the Northern Traditional Rulers Council, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has expressed fear that with millions of Nigerian youths left without jobs and food, Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder.

This came two days after the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, had decried the ravaging hunger and starvation in the land.

Speaking at the 6th Executive Committee Meeting of the Northern Traditional Rulers Council yesterday in Kaduna, the Sultan said the economic hardship in Nigeria had reached a level where citizens were agitated, angry and hungry.

He said: “We have now entered into a new cycle of leadership. Some new governors have come on board, while some are having their second term and still, we are faced with these insecurity issues.

“To make matters worse, we are faced with the rising level of poverty. Most of our people lack normal sources of livelihood.

“However, I believe talking about insecurity and the rising level of poverty are two issues that we cannot fold our arms and think everything is okay. I have said it so many times and at so many fora that things are not okay in Nigeria and of course, things are not okay in the North,” he stressed. 

He said if the governors want to have peace and stability in their states, they also must work with the traditional institution.

 “We must find jobs for our teeming youths that are sitting idle and I have said it so many times, we are sitting on a keg of gunpowder; teeming youths, millions of them without jobs, without food. We are looking for trouble,” he warned.

He said Nigeria never lacked solutions to its problems but implementation had always been poor.

“I believe at the end of this meeting, we should have very good suggestions to our political leaders, to our security chiefs, that when such are implemented, we will have a better North, and at the same time have a better Nigeria,” the Sultan said.

He said to make far-reaching impact, the council invited the leadership of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) and Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) to join the deliberations and make suggestions on how to end the problems bedeviling the North.

 The Sultan, therefore, tasked them to bring solutions to education, health, insecurity and poverty problems facing the North.

“We’ve reached that level, people are very agitated, people are hungry, they are angry. But they still believe some people can talk to them; they believe in some of their governors, traditional rulers and religious leaders.

“So, we have this onerous task of reaching out to everybody, calm them down and assure them things will be okay; and they should continue to pray and pray and still do something good because prayer without work will not bring anything,” he added.

42,000MT of grains coming – FG

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, yesterday said the federal government would distribute 42,000 metric tonnes of grains free of charge to Nigerians as approved by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

He stated this at a ministerial press briefing in Abuja.

He said officials of his ministry had met with the National Emergency Agency (NEMA) and the Department of State Services (DSS) on the modalities for the distribution, in order to ensure that the grains reach the targeted citizens.

The minister said the food items would be released from the 53,000 metric tons in the strategic reserve.

He said food security was partially challenged by some factors, including flooding and insecurity.

He noted that the government was trying to crash prices and make food available to the citizens.

He said the government would enhance its ability to produce three million tons of rice during the dry season.

 He also said the government had a target to produce about 2.5 to 3 million tons during the current dry season farming.

 Kyari said the government had met with rice millers and other commodity producers as some of them had huge silos in their factories where food was stored. 

He stated: “So we did some background checks of what is available. That is not to say that the farmers are going to produce 60,000 tons, no. They have them in storage; we are asking them to hand it over for the government to off-take, so that it can be given out to the population. We’re still working out the modality on how it is going to be. As soon as we conclude on this, we’ll roll out the programme.”

The minister further said: “This 42,000MT is going to the needy free of charge. It will be directly to the needy at no cost.

Kyari also said the federal government plans to involve state governors in identifying real farmers that would benefit from interventions to enable them to produce more food.

He described the discovery “political farmers” in the farmers’ database kept by the ministry as unhelpful in the food production value chain.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said the briefing was to explain to Nigerians, the five pillars of the administration’s renewed hope agenda which are to restore trust, amplify policies and programmes, reorient national values, modernize technology and talents and to create an enabling environment for the media to operate.

Faulting the federal government’s move to distribute the grains for free, Kabiru Alhaji Ahmed Roni, a fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants of England and Wales, said that the palliative distribution of the government may not work as it cannot be sustained. 

He said this on Wednesday night while featuring on Trust TV’s Daily Politics programme.

Roni, also a former Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in Abuja and Niger State, said, “Actually, Nigerians don’t need palliatives as being proposed by government. What we need is food that is available and affordable for the generality of Nigerian masses. I saw it today (Wednesday) in one village, people are breaking ant-hill to remove grains because of hunger.

“But mind you, there is something that the government has to be very careful in doing free distribution of free food. Is it sustainable? May be not, so the best thing is to sell it at very affordable prices, to crash the prices, so that people who had already put away foodstuff in their warehouses in order to take advantage would have to bring their food and sell them because the price has crashed.

“If for example, a bag of rice is selling at N70,000, may be the government can come and say a bag of rice is now N25,000 or less for people to buy. This can solve the problem better than give them free food because it cannot be continuous and cannot be sustainable. It could be the beginning of getting the problem resolved,” Roni said.

CAN to govt: Take concrete action

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday urged governments at all levels to take concrete measures to support Nigerians facing economic hardship and bring prosperity.

CAN President Archbishop Daniel Okoh, made the call in a statement he signed as part of the Ash Wednesday/Lent message.

 “I call on our leaders at every level of governance to acknowledge the severity of the economic issues confronting our nation and to take immediate, concrete actions to support individuals enduring economic hardship.

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