The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, has flagged off the nationwide distribution of 40, 000 metric tonnes of assorted grains to displaced vulnerable Nigerians and women groups.
In his remarks during the ceremony at the camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) at Kamarjigi, Abuja, the minister said the exercise would cushion the effects of the high cost of food commodities, ensure food and nutrition security and alleviate poverty.
According to him, the exercise based on President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive is to serve as a palliative for the people in the spirit of Easter, Ramadan and the upcoming Eid celebrations, adding that the exercise will be replicated across the country.
“The incessant banditry attacks have displaced many farming communities in some states, disrupted their sources of livelihood and rendered them homeless. Currently, some are taking shelter around schools, mosques and churches. Many of these households are in dire need of food assistance to ease their sufferings, as they are facing untold hardship and food scarcity.
“As part of the Federal Government’s effort to ensure food security and alleviate poverty, President, Muhammad Buhari has approved the release of 40,000 metric tonnes of assorted food commodities from the National Strategic Reserve to vulnerable Nigerians to cushion the effects of rising prices of food items,” he said.
Abubakar emphasised that political commitment is fundamental to addressing the food security challenge, but not the complete answer. “Strengthening food systems and chains is a shared responsibility. Governments, industry and consumers all have a vital role and must work together to ensure farm to the table food security.”
In his welcome address, the director, department of strategic grains reserve, Engr. Sule Haruna said the distribution exercise was symbolic and in line with the department’s core mandate of maintaining a strategic grain reserve that would serve as a buffer to food challenges in the country.
In his goodwill message, the district head of Kamarjigi, Alhaji Yunusa Bako, appreciated the Federal Government for coming to the aid of the IDPs, especially the women and youths.
In a related event, the minister was at the headquarters of the Women Affairs Ministry to also perform the symbolic distribution of assorted grains to representatives of various women groups as part of the emergency nationwide exercise.
In her remarks, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, appreciated President Buhari’s gesture and appealed to the women groups to make judicious use of the assorted grains for the nutritional needs of their families.
A statement by the ministry’s director of information and signed by Ikemefuna Ezeaja, said beneficiaries of the palliatives include the leader of the displaced persons at Karmajigi, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha; representatives of the Federation of Muslims Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) and the Catholic Women Organisation of Nigeria (CWO). It said the groups unanimously thanked President Buhari for his benevolence to the vulnerable in the country.