Government Rejects Food Imports, Supports Crackdown on Hoarders

By Milcah Tanimu

The Federal Government has dismissed the option of importing food as part of its strategy to alleviate the high costs of food items and economic challenges gripping the nation. Instead, it has initiated measures to clamp down on traders hoarding essential grains.

This decision emerged from an emergency meeting held at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, between President Bola Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and state governors. The meeting also witnessed the formation of a committee comprising the National Security Adviser, Director-General of the Department of State Services, and Inspector-General of Police to tackle hoarding activities.

In response to the government’s stance, the All Farmers Association of Nigeria and the organized private sector expressed support for the decision, advocating for actions against hoarders. The Nigeria Customs Service has pledged to curb smuggling activities contributing to the scarcity of food items in the country.

The escalation in food prices has been alarming, with reports indicating a 50% surge in staple commodities such as rice, beans, oils, plantain, grains, fish, poultry, and meat. This has triggered nationwide protests against the prevailing harsh economic conditions.

Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, a former Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, highlighted factors contributing to the food crisis, including insecurity, flooding, and inadequate mechanization.

Addressing reporters after the meeting, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, emphasized the adverse impact of food imports on the nation’s economy. He underscored Nigeria’s capacity to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, urging continuous investment in agriculture to ensure food availability for all citizens.

The government also announced plans to intensify efforts in livestock development and management, besides cracking down on hoarders to stabilize food prices and ensure accessibility to essential commodities.

President Tinubu urged state governors to prioritize payment of salary arrears and gratuities to state workers and pensioners, aiming to inject liquidity into the economy. He discouraged the idea of establishing a price control board, emphasizing the need to support local farmers and resist food imports.

The National President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture, Dele Oye, lauded the government’s stance, advocating for enhanced collaboration to reinforce local agricultural productivity and combat inflationary pressures.

In a bid to address the root causes of the food crisis, the Federal Government announced the completion of irrigation projects spanning over 22,000 hectares. These projects aim to bolster food production and mitigate the effects of the prevailing food shortage.

Furthermore, the Nigeria Customs Service has intensified efforts to curb smuggling activities, particularly the illegal exportation of food items. The Minister of State for Labour and Employment assured Nigerians of the government’s commitment to finding lasting solutions to the rising cost of living crisis.

Amidst these challenges, the government seeks the support and prayers of Nigerians as it works towards restoring normalcy and economic stability.


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