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Grains allegedly yet to be released to Nigerians two weeks after President Tinubu's directive
 
By: News Editor
Thu, 22 Feb 2024   ||   Nigeria,
 

Grains are reportedly yet to be released to Nigerians two weeks after President Bola Tinubu gave the directive to the ministry of agriculture.

Recall that two weeks ago, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to release 42,000 metric tons of maize, millet and other commodities from the national strategic reserve to Nigerians for free.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, last Wednesday at a press conference in Abuja, said grains would be distributed free to poor Nigerians. He further disclosed that the grains would be released to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for onward distribution to Nigerians because the agency has the poverty index of the country.

CEOAFRICA source however reported that the grains are yet to be made available for distribution as of yesterday, February 21. In Kano, grains had not been released to the state. The Special Adviser to the Governor on Food Security, Hajiya Aisha Muhammad Idris, said the state was ready to distribute food items as soon as they were released.

The grains are also yet to get to Kwara state. NEMA’s head of operations for Kwara and Niger states, Zainab Saidu, said;

“NEMA is not in possession of any grains yet. If there were, they would have contacted us at the zonal office and delivered straight to us. But there is nothing like that yet. I have not heard from my headquarters on the issue and I believe they (federal government) have not released anything yet.”

Kwara SEMA chairman, Moshood Magaji, also said:

“We have not received any message on the issue and my office is not handling anything like distribution. I do not know of any distribution from the federal government.”

Taraba is also yet to receive the grains and it was also learnt that there were no grains at the NEMA office in the state when the publication's correspondent visited.

The situation was the same in Gombe and Ogun states. Reports from Niger, Oyo, Cross River, Benue, Bauchi, Yobe, Kogi, and Nasarawa states also indicated that the federal government had not released food items to them yet.

An official at the ministry of agriculture who spoke on condition of anonymity, attributed the delay to data authentication. He said this was to avoid the mistakes made during the previous distribution of palliatives.

The source said;

“The ministry has been holding several inter-agency meetings at various levels to make sure the grains reach the intended impoverished people rather than falling into the wrong hands.”

The source also said the grains were in silos located in different parts of the country. He added that the logistics and security modalities had to be properly worked out to have a hitch-free distribution exercise across the country.

Another source told the publication that despite claims by government officials, there is not enough grain reserve in the country. The source said it is better for the government to tell the citizens the truth instead of making promises that would not be fulfilled.

Another source said importation of grains remains the only option for now to address food shortages in the interim and advised government at all levels to provide security and incentives for farmers ahead of the next cropping season.

Findings revealed that Nigeria has 33 silos with a total capacity of 1.3 million metric tons for its Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) system. However, about 19 of these silos were concessioned to the private sector for a number of years.

The ministry has not given details of what is available in the national strategic grains reserve silos, describing it as a national security issue.

 

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