Prophet Isa El-Buba, the organiser of the Initiative for Better and Brighter Nigeria (IBBN), has urged the federal government to promptly distribute grains from its strategic reserve depots and make sure that these grains are accessible to hungry Nigerians at a reasonable cost. In a text theme, “Address Devastating Hunger In Nigeria Before It Sparks An Implosion”, He delivered a message that resonated deeply in Jos on Feb 9, 2024. He emphasised the dangerous transformation that occurs when a person’s stomach is empty. When hunger engulfs a man, his emotions are easily swayed towards anger, which has the potential to escalate rapidly if left unattended.
The growing occurrence of widespread hunger and extreme poverty in Nigeria is leading to a forthcoming revolt that cannot be ignored. If they fail to take action, the suffering population will rise in rebellion, and this uprising will be so swift that it may go unnoticed. It is crucial to understand that a famished individual becomes infuriated, and if their discontent is not addressed promptly, it can escalate into dire repercussions. The fact that the majority of Nigerians display anger and aggression in public can be partially attributed to this phenomenon.
Food emergency fails as soaring prices persist with naira devaluation.
In recent news, an incident occurred where a desperate mother in Port Harcourt resorted to stealing plantains from another woman’s plantation to provide food for her starving children. The rightful owner of the plantains confronted her, resulting in a heated exchange between them. Shockingly, the desperate woman, driven to extreme measures, viciously attacked and killed the plantain owner with a ruthless swing of a machete. El-Buba expressed his grief over the heart breaking news currently circulating in Nigeria.
He noted that despite the government’s declaration of a state of emergency regarding food security, the attempts to control the escalating food prices have been futile due to a foreign exchange rate swiftly devaluing the naira. According to him, the prevailing inflation has led to a steady monthly rise in food prices. This unfortunate circumstance is fuelled by terrorists who force farmers to abandon their fields, as well as frequent attacks and ransom kidnappings on communities in states like Plateau and Taraba. These states happen to be major food producers in Nigeria. Consequently, agricultural activities have come to a halt due to extensive displacement and the migration of people from farming regions to IDP camps across the country.
Energy price surge worsens hunger, transports woes nationwide.
With the recent surge in energy prices combined with its effect on transport have also spread hunger and adversity across various regions of the country. This has caused an increase in food prices, resulting in widespread distress and agitation among the population. The prophet commends the resilient spirit of Nigerians who remain steadfast despite enduring hardships. However, he appeals to the FG to take action and restore the farming villages in Plateau and Benue States, which Fulani militias have forcefully taken over. A grant of 20 billion Naira should be provided to facilitate the return of these communities to their ancestral lands. This initiative will enable them to resume farming and actively participate in efforts to ensure food security across Nigeria.
However, the government has several methods to help households and families in dealing with this issue. When it comes to the government’s responsibility in tackling the problem of high food prices and inflation, hunger in Nigeria can be alleviated through a combination of controlling food price hikes by increasing exports, decreasing import tariffs, and eliminating value-added tax on food. Similarly, Action Against Hunger implemented projects to improve water and sanitation systems in the intervention States. They also encouraged better hygiene practices and continued their groundwater advocacy and monitoring projects in Borno and Yobe States.
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A report from UN Hunger explains that hunger is a state where communities go through extreme hardships to obtain adequate food. This occurs when individuals are unable to ensure consistent access to safe and nourishing meals required for an active and well-balanced lifestyle. Numerous factors contribute to the emergence of hunger among populations. Notably, poverty frequently plays a substantial role in creating an environment of food insecurity. Conflict and violence hinder individuals from accessing essential nourishment, while climate change and natural calamities further diminish the availability of sustenance for people.