From Paul Orude, Bauchi
An erudite scholar, Professor Mansur Usman Malumfashi, has blamed state governors for the rising cost of food commodities and hunger in the country.
Malumfushi, a Professor of Library and Information Science of the Faculty of Education, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, made the observation in an interview with Daily Sun in his office.
‘Largely states are to blame for the rising cost of food in Nigeria,’ he opined.
‘Take the instance of the intervention of the federal government, donor agencies and development partners.
‘The federal government intervened by giving out food items but instead of governors to give out these food items to the affected populace, most of them hid the food,’ he lamented.
‘Most of the governors failed to release the food items until recently during the Sallah ceremony but was supposed to be given during the COVID19. So instead of solving the problem, they (governors) are compounding the problem.
‘Look at how people went wild, broke into warehouses and carted away a lot of food. It’s a disgrace to the country and to the international world that people in positions of wealth and leadership instead of providing succour are adding more difficulties. Maybe they were keeping it there for campaign purposes. Honestly, the state governments and the governors need to do a lot for their people.’
He also lambasted traders for increasing prices of foodstuff arbitrarily without considering the plight of the common Nigerian.
‘There is no basis to increase food prices as these are part of the bumper harvest of last year farming season. But look at it now, how much is a bag of rice? The Nigerian rice?. It has risen and also the ordinary maize that people are going for. Unfortunately, whichever life you live you must eat to survive and people are finding it difficult to get food. It is unfortunate for the country, these foods are grown here,’ he observed.
Malumfushi, who is the Sarkin Malaman Galadiman Katsina, advised the federal government to release strategic reserves of grain that are usually reserved for these kinds of situations so that the price of food can come down.
‘I must emphasise that these foods that we are growing in the country are not imported. If food was being imported we can cry that yes dollar has gone up but unfortunately most of the food we are eating now is the food that was harvested last year,” he stated
‘I appeal to the government to release the strategic grain reserves so that it can beat down the price according to the law of demand and supply so that the price can come down,’ he stressed
‘The Central Bank of Nigeria said it would release about 27,000 metric tonnes to rice farmers in the country to beat the price of the commodity in the market. But silos in most states have long been abandoned. The states have a responsibility to provide succour too,’ he stated