April 23, 2024

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Mitigate pains of Nigerians, control food prices, Lagos traditional ruler appeals to Tinubu

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Amid rising cost of living and food inflation, traditional ruler of Otumara community, High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye has appealed to President Bola Tinubu to mitigate the pains of Nigerians and control prices of food commodities.

Kalejaiye made the appeal following the order of the court to the Federal Government to fix the price of goods and petroleum products within seven days with effect from Wednesday, January 7.

Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa of the Federal High Court in Lagos gave the order following an originating motion filed and argued by the applicant and human rights lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana.

In suit no FHC/L/CS/869/2023, Falana asked for an order, by virtue of Section 4 of the Price Control Act, directing the Federal Government to fix the prices of bicycles and spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and spare parts; motor vehicles and spare parts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit and kerosene within not later than seven days after the delivery of the judgment of the court.

Reacting to the order, Kalejaiye affirmed that Nigerian are insecure and hungry while also noting that the country’s challenges are self-inflicted.

He said, “There is tension in the land as far as food inflation and insecurity are concerned. The challenges confronting us a country are self-inflicted. They are caused by politicians and middlemen. They are culpable for the corruption, current economic hardship and insecurity Nigerians are suffering.

Sometimes in December, 2023, President Bola Tinubu released N2billion each to Federal lawmakers to buy palliative grains for their constituents. This was intended to address food shortage but how many of these lawmakers distribute these grains to their people?

Instead they diverted the money and left the people that voted them into offices hungry. Many of our politicians are selfish, greedy and are after their pockets. They are frustrating Federal Government efforts to addressing the challenges of food insecurity with their corrupt and selfish nature.

Just two days ago, the president directed the special presidential committee on emergency food intervention to release grains from the national food reserve to Nigerians.

This is to crash food prices in the market. But as noble as this intervention is, it has been defeated before it is even implemented. The situation we are now in the country happens everywhere. It is not peculiar to us but what makes it worse is the attitude of our elected politicians towards solving it.

It is obvious that this emergency food intervention would not yield any meaningful impact because the grains, as usual, will be diverted by those that are to implement it.

They won’t get to the target audience who in this case are the poor of the poorest. If President Tinubu is keen on ending food insecurity, he must device a means to ensuring that the grains get to the people that are deserving of them and not in the hands of corruption politicians and civil servants.”

Also Kalejaiye blamed the middlemen for hoarding these commodities and taking undue advantage of the free fall of the Naira to increasing prices of food items.

He added, “Our food challenges is not wholly about scarcity, there is food sufficiency in the country but the problem is, the middlemen are hoarding them. For instance, days ago, about 10 trailer load of rice were deposited at a warehouse in Ilupeju, Lagos. And similar situation exists across major markets and warehouses across the state.

These traders hoard these commodities to create artificial scarcity which in the end will shoot up the prices and by implication create hunger in the land.

The government must rise up to the occasion and stop blaming the opposition for the scarcity. They need to come up with mechanism to control prices of food items as at every slightest opportunity traders adjust prices of commodities at will.”

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