Senate Chief Whip Raises Alarm Over Rising Food Scarcity, Urges President to Act

The Senate Chief Whip, Ali Ndume, has expressed concerns over the number of Nigerian children dying as a result of food scarcity in Nigeria.

Ndume, similarly, said President Bola Tinubu had shut the door on some of his ministers, which has led to the debriefing of the country’s woes.

The senator representing Borno State South Senatorial District under the flagship of the All Progressives Congress made this known in an interview with BBC Hausa on Tuesday.

According to him, the Federal Government has failed to address the issues of rising cost of living and food scarcity while urging Tinubu to take urgent action as the situation could lead to famine and starvation, especially among children.

“We want to draw the government’s attention to the fact that Nigeria is not only facing a high cost of living but also food scarcity.”

“We want the President to intervene in the issue of high cost of living and food scarcity,” he said.

He further cited the example of Katsina State, where children are already suffering from malnutrition due to food scarcity.

He also mentioned the situation in Niger Republic and South Sudan, where children are dying due to hunger.

“We have seen how it happened in Niger Republic and South Sudan, where children are dying due to hunger, and we are starting to see it in Nigeria,” he stressed.

While attributing the majority of the problem being that Tinubu was not operating an open door policy anymore, Ndume opined, “The major problem with this government is that its doors are closed, to the extent that even some ministers cannot see the President, not to mention members of the National Assembly, who do not have the opportunity to meet with him and discuss the issues affecting their constituencies.”

Ndume spoke shortly after Senator Sunday Karimi and himself sponsored a motion to address the food crisis in the country.

They noted that the World Food Programme has warned that 82 million Nigerians are likely to face food insecurity in the next five years.

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The senators said the aim of the motion was to draw the government’s attention to the severity of the food crisis affecting many Nigerians.

Ugamatv earlier reported that the FG announced a 150-day duty-free import window for food commodities as it stepped up efforts to tackle rising inflation, which had impoverished many Nigerians.

The government also expressed its decision to collaborate with states to expand land cultivation across the country.

Consequently, the government suspended duties, tariffs, and taxes for the importation of certain food commodities through land and sea borders.

Among other things, the latest directive is expected to reduce demand for forex by food importers. In 2023, Nigerians spent $2.13bn to import food items from foreign countries.

The quarterly statistics of the Central Bank of Nigeria showed that the country exported large amounts of food from foreign countries despite being touted as the food basket of Africa.

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