As a temporary response to the nation’s growing food crisis and the rising price of commodities, President Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, ordered the immediate release of more than 102,000 metric tons of various grain types from the Strategic Reserve and the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria.
This was the government warned that those hoarding foodstuffs would be dealt with.
The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, revealed this to State House Correspondents after the final leg of three meetings of the Special Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.
Deliberations began on Tuesday after angry youths and women took to the streets of Minna, the Niger State capital and Kano to protest what they described as the rising cost of living in the country. Similar protests also erupted in Ondo State.
After the first meeting, the Federal Government, said it was “very concerned about what Nigerians are going through, especially with what happened in Minna.”
It said it was “taking some action to ensure that Nigerians have some relief in terms of the availability of food on the table.”
Divulging arrangements agreed upon at the final session, Idris said, “The first one is that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has been directed to release about 42,000 metric tons of maize, millet, garri and other commodities in their strategic reserve so that these items will be made available to Nigerians; 42,000 metric tons immediately.
“The second one is that we have held meetings with the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria. Those who are responsible for producing this rice and we have asked them to open up their stores.
“They’ve told us they can guarantee about 60,000 metric tons of rice. This will be made available and we know that is enough to take Nigerians the next month to six weeks, perhaps up to two months.”
Idris revealed that the administration would resort to importing necessary supplies to augment shortages observed after the release of the food items.
“Now, the third item is that government is also looking at the possibility, if it becomes necessary, as an interim measure in the short run also to import some of these commodities,” he revealed
The goal of the assorted measures, Idris said, was “to crash the cost of these food items. And these are measures that will happen immediately.”
He said, “42,000 metric tons from the strategic government reserve, about 60,000 metric tons of rice from the Rice Millers Association, they have them in all their storage facilities and government, in conjunction with them after this exhaustive meeting, has directed that they also bring this out immediately so that the price of rice will come down significantly.
“These are all measures taken to bring down the cost of food items immediately.”