Food Insecurity: Gombe lawmaker accuse FG of deceit says no grains in the silos

Elizabeth AtimeFebruary 21, 20244 min

The federal government should as a matter of urgency or as a matter of priority consider subsidising agriculture to revitalise its economy and ensure food security in Nigeria.

The House of Representatives lawmaker representing Yamaltu/Deba Federal Constituency, (PDP, Gombe) has accused the federal government of deceiving Nigerians about owning enough grains in the food silos.

Rep. Inuwa Garba, who sponsored a motion on the “Need to investigate the privatisation/concession of Federal Government Silos in Nigeria,” made the allegations on Tuesday while briefing journalists after the plenary.

Recall that 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.

Debating the motion on the floor of the House at plenary, Rep. Garba, noted that in September 2017, the Federal Government commenced the process of concession for 22 out of its 33 silo complexes across the country to the private sector to ensure the availability of affordable grains across the country.

According to him the need to scrutinize circumstances surrounding the privatization or concession of Government Silos for Grains Storage in the country considering the vital role these silos play in ensuring food security across the country.

“Also cognizant of the need to investigate the entire process of privatization or concession, including the criteria used for the selection of private entities, transparency in the bidding process to ensure accountability in public administration, and upholding the principles of fairness and equity.”

The House unanimously adopted the motion and urged the Federal Government to, as a matter of priority, consider subsidizing agriculture to revitalize the economy and improve food security in Nigeria.

The House also mandated the Committees on Agricultural Production and Services, Privatization and Commercialization, and Public Assets, to investigate the privatization/concession of 22 out of 33 Government Silos for grain storage and other critical national assets in Nigeria and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

While speaking to journalists, he said President Bola Tinubu may have been misinformed or misguided on his directives to distribute grains to Nigeria who are in no doubt suffering from the current economic hardship.

He also noted that as a temporary response to the nation’s growing food crisis and the rising price of commodities, President Bola Tinubu recently 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.

According to the lawmaker, in a country of more than 200 million people where petroleum subsidies have been removed, there must be an agriculture subsidy to help cushion the effects of food insecurity currently faced by the nation.

“That is why I said it is very timely to investigate why the government took the decision to privatize the silos or services that are meant for the government. 

“I feel it is very wrong to privatize the silos or services that are meant for the government to have food security by having food storage in order to support and alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians over a period of time where there is not only scarcity of food but very high cost of food and scarcity of funds.

“Members of the press that is why I raised on the floor to investigate this action of government.

“That is why I said the federal government should as a matter of urgency or as a matter of priority consider subsidising agriculture to revitalise its economy and ensure food security in Nigeria”, Rep. Inuwa stated.

OrderPaper, in its Legislative Intelligence Forecast Entry (LIFE) article for the week, had predicted that the issue of food insecurity would be a major issue on the radar at the National Assembly. Find the details here.

Elizabeth Atime

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