…Govt rules out food importation, says Nigeria can feed self

By Jerry Daks

There are indications that the federal government has given the nod for the  establishement of state police as it has announced plans agreed to work out plans for the emergence of the outfits. 

This is coming amid reports of deteriorating security in parts of the country, especially owing to the activities of bandits and kidnappers.

There has been a long drawn agitation for state police since the early 2000, but this is the first time the federal government is openly expressing its approval for the initiative.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, who gave the hint on Thursday while briefing newsmen on the outcomes of a meeting between President Bola Tinubu and governors of the 36 states of the federation, noted that the decision is a significant shift.

“Now, there is also a discussion around the issue of state police. The federal government and the state governments are mulling the possibility of setting up state police. ⁣

“Of course, this is still going to be further discussed. A lot of work has to be done in that direction. Both the federal government and the state governments agreed to the necessity of having state police, now this is a significant shift. But like I said, more work needs to be done in that direction. ⁣

“A lot of meetings will have to happen between the federal government and the subnationals to see the modalities of achieving this, Idris said at the briefing.

The minister also disclosed that more forest guards will be recruited by government in efforts to keep the forests safe from the activities of bandits and kidnappers.

According to him, the new initiatives are to consolidate of the existing spirited efforts by government to check the growing insecurity, even as governors were said to have admitted at the meeting with the president that there’s significant reduction in insecurity at the moment.

Idris said: “Of course, as I said, the situation has not been completely solved. But we are seeing a positive movement towards a secure Nigeria. ⁣
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“Now in this direction. Mr. President and the state governors have also discussed the possibility of improving the numeric strength of forest rangers to train them so that they can keep our forests and our borders very safe.⁣”
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The minister equally announced that government has jettisoned the idea of importing food items, following the outcry over rising food inflation in the country.

Idris had earlier announced last week after a meeting of the Presidential Committee on Food Security, that government was mulling importation of food to cushion the effect of price hike.

Making a volta face on Thursday, the minister said the current hardship occasioned by food inflation is only temporary, adding that the country should not mortgage her interest by resorting to importing food.

Stating that the meeting was called at the instance of  President Tinubu to intimate state chief executives of what is happening and what government is doing about it, the minister said:

“A lot of issues were discussed about the security situation in the country. The apparent food issue that the media has also been reporting about and some other measures that will help in improving the state of our nation.⁣
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“Now, the first point is that the governors and Mr. President have agreed to set up a committee to deepen the conversation that has happened at the just-concluded meeting. Of course, you know that it is impossible to complete most of the issues that were raised at the meeting so is going to be a continuous one. ⁣

“It is important that all the time, the federal government and the state governors who are leaders at the subnational level to continue to engage and interact collectively so that issues of national importance will continue to be addressed, and we don’t leave room for any speculation or for people who may seize the opportunity to say things that are not in the interest of our country. ⁣

“First, the National Security Adviser, the Director General of the state services, and the Inspector General of Police have been directed to coordinate with the state governors to look at the issue of those hoarding commodities. ⁣

“At this point, the nation requires foods to be brought out to the people so that we can control prices and put food on the table of most Nigerians, other commodity traders are busy hoarding these commodities so that Nigerians will suffer or they will make more money as a result. ⁣

“So the governors and Mr. President have taken this decision that security agencies will collaborate with the state governors to ensure that this ends. ⁣

“Number two, a decision has also been taken that in the interest of our country, there will be no need for food importation at this point. Nigeria has the potential to feed itself and even be a net exporter of food items to other countries. And we do not also want to reverse some of the progress we have seen in terms of food production in this country. ⁣

“What we’re seeing now is just a temporary difficulty that will soon go away. Therefore, the solution to it is by continuous investment in agriculture so that food can be made available to all Nigerians. ⁣

“Of course,you know that Mr. President has declared emergency in agriculture many months ago. Therefore, part of the measures that he has taken is to ensure that investments, more investments are made in this sector for the benefit of our people. ⁣

“The governors have also agreed to join hands with Mr. President to deepen their own investment in the agricultural sector so that more food will be made available to Nigerians. Of course, this investment is not just in crop production, it is also in livestock development and management.⁣
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“All these is to ensure that food is available in the area of security Mr President and the state governors have all agreed that at this point, we are seeing significant improvement in the security situation around the country of course. “

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