By Bimbola Oyesola, Chinyere Anyanwu, Merit Ibe and Steve Agbota
Nigerians, yesterday, reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledge to use all available resources and manpower to quell the spate of banditary in the country to ensure that food security was not compromised.
The president who spoke through through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, at the State House shortly after observing the Eid prayer marking the end of the month-long Ramadan fast, assured Nigerians that the menace of banditary and kidnapping that have chased farmers out of their business would be addressed to ensure that the nation’s food security is not threatened.
But in separate reactions to Buhari’s statement, agriculture stakeholders urged the president to walk his talk by ensuring that the security situation of the country is addressed with despatch so that farmers would have the enabling environment to ply their trade to guarantee food security.
Speaking to Daily Sun yesterday, National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kabir Ibrahim, said though President Buhari, through the nation’s National Security Adviser (NSA), has tasked security agencies across the country to evolve a new strategy to ensure they stem insecurity, he needs to walk his talk.
The farmers’ helmsman said, “Government came out through the NSA to tell us that the president has charged security agencies to evolve a new strategy to ensure they stem insecurity. ke Nigeria food-sufficient.
According to him, “the Federal Government does not have a farm and there’s nothing it can do except to ensure that there’s security, and farmers will be motivated and incentivised to produce more. When farmers produce more, we will have lower prices of food items.”
For his part, Mr. Sotonye Anga, a farmer and the Managing Director of Universal Quest Nigeria, stressed that for Nigeria to be food secure, it has to deal with the insecurity and farmers/herders clashes confronting the country.
Anga stated that insecurity is reducing farmers’ productivity, and needs to be tackled, adding that government equally needs to deal with the challenges around distribution of inputs and planting materials.
He said, “the Buhari government, as matter of urgency, needs to address the issue of farmers/herders clashes to solve food insecurity. Insecurity is a big problem for farmers. The truth is that a lot of farmers are running out of their farms for fear of being slaughtered. Farmers should be able to go to the farm and farm peacefully.”
He predicted that if insecurity is not tackled headlong and urgently, Nigeria would be plunged into massive food shortage and food insecurity.
A food secured nation is a secured nation,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) yesterday said the Pesident Muhammad Buhari’s commitment to curbing the growing insecurity and fostering food security has not being in doubt.
It however reasoned that the issue is whether the strategy is appropriate. According to the LCCI Director General, Muda Yusuf, there is also the worry about the adequacy of resources committed to putting an end to the insecurity.
“But what Nigerians want to see is a change in the daily realities and experiences of insecurity – insurgency, killings, arson, kidnapping, robbery, attacks on security formations. These are frightening realities,” he said.
The LCCI boss said the matter is not just about the impact on farmers and implications for food security, though this is important, but the effect, he said is systemic.
He said, “Investment across all sectors is being negatively impacted. There is palpable fear all around.
“Perception of the country as an unsafe investment destination is growing. It is our prayer that the president statement will translate into concrete outcomes. It is these outcomes that would inspire confidence in the citizens and investors.”
President of Phamaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Sam Ohuabunwa
It’s good to hear that he made such a vow. What is going on in the country has given a bad name to the country. Nigerians are not happy with the state of affairs and security. The president should also listen to what people are saying that the solution to our insecurity is not just the use of the military, or force , he should also consider the issues of injustice and try to get the people of Nigeria together to discuss the problem bedeviling the country and find a solution.