By Salim Yunusa
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Sunday, 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 82.9 million 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 President 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 remain 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 elections.
“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 believes that the time has come for President Buhari to provide direct stimuli to small businesses as an incentive to pay salaries, revamp production and boost purchasing power.
“Moreover, President Buhari should take steps to recover the over N15 trillion stolen by APC leaders and channel part of it to emergency action for food security in our country, before it is too late.”