One of the basic needs of man is food and Nigerians are daily being denied this essential need to survive. The citizens do not need a clairvoyant to tell them that there is hunger unprecedented in the annals of the country in the nation. Families across the nation are daily going to sleep with empty stomachs no thanks to the government’s policy somersault on every policy gleefully orchestrated at any point in time.
The current economic recession is daily decimating the population due to the country’s sole dependence on mono product – oil. It had been said for the umpteenth time that the country needs to diversity its economy to agriculture and mineral resources, but after one and a half years of this government in the saddle, no change is either palpable or feasible.
The astronomical increase in the price of foodstuffs is worrisome – even with a renowned agriculturist as Minister of Agriculture in person of Audu Ogbeh. Nothing seems to be changing instead foodstuffs prices continue to soar. We have lost count of Nigerians who have died because of bare-faced hunger in the land.
The much-taunted diversification is more on paper than reality; each day the hunger is more harrowing. Why the policies are unrealizable, government should provide an answer.
It had been said times without number that Nigeria is blessed with a good number of resources needed to bail us out of the present recession which is self-inflicted, yet the citizens continue to go hungry with the government’s change mantra which it is daily professing. Years back, the country used to be the highest exporter of food. Palm kernel was an exclusive preserve of the nation but today it has lost that status to Brazil. Nigeria sadly imports palm oil and other foodstuffs.
Unpatriotic citizens are not helping matters by exporting food items to make money. For how long, we ask, is this sad but avoidable to trend of self-inflicted hunger will last with the government playing lip service to hunger by way of newspaper grandstanding and useless rhetorics it dishes out to citizens.
The government should henceforth be proactive on this hike in foodstuffs price and by extension hunger which is about to wipe out a majority of Nigeria’s population. Government could encourage small-scale farmers by way of soft loans to boost their trade while it could embark on mechanized agriculture nationwide. Government nowadays wastes our resources on frivolities and fruitless contracts which money ends up in private pockets.
Economic diversification should no longer be a mere slogan by government but it should walk the talk. Agriculture minister should empty his arsenal on agric as a technocrat in the field. He should checkmate the export of food and wastages of food items by unscrupulous citizens to make money at the expense of hungry Nigerians. They are hard-working, their portion should not be like a Yoruba proverb which says the son of a butcher should not be eating bones but meat and liver.
A visit to a typical Nigerian market depicts a dismal rooftop price of food items majorly patronized by the downtrodden in the nation. An average family is increasingly finding it very harrowing to feed its members not talk of paying the children’s school fees and other sundry expenses. The government needs to be told in unmistaken terms that half of the population goes hungry daily. A hungry man, they say, is an angry man and he can do the least unexpected any time any day.
Government should pep the diversification of the economy especially agriculture to stem the raging hunger in the land and bring down foodstuff price considerably.
It would be an anathema, if with our God-given resources, we resort to importing food. May that never be.
While government is playing its role in this food price hike, the heads of markets (Iyaloja) nationwide should start educating their members on our self-inflicted hunger. They should sensitize them on the need to stop the persistent rise in foodstuffs price.
Another step government should take is provide means of food preservation. Stories abound of wanton wastages of food items due to lack of good, neat preservation of perishable items of food which is tantamount to waste of money.
We say finally that government should put a stop to this hydra-headed problem of food hike price nationwide by putting forth workable, beneficial policies and implementation not unrealistic newspaper rhetorics being churned out by government officials.