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Tinubu Clears Air On Nigeria’s Food Crisis, Says What He’ll Do

Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu says he will not set up any board to regulate prices of food commodities in the country.

“What I will not do is to set a price control board. I will not also approve the importation of food,” Tinubu said at a meeting with 36 state governors, attended by the Vice-President, the National Security Adviser, the Inspector-General of Police, the Director-General of the DSS, and some ministers at the State House in Abuja on Thursday.

His comments come days after Vice President Kashim Shettima hinted at plans to establish a National Commodity Board to curtail the escalating food inflation in Nigeria.

The President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, revealed the details of Tinubu’s discussion in a statement titled ‘President Tinubu to 36 state governors: there must be zero tolerance for incompetence; support local farmers to boost food production and remove rent seekers.’

While declaring open a two-day high-level strategic meeting on climate change, food systems and resource mobilisation at Presidential Villa, the VP said the FG will tackle price volatility by “establishing a National Commodity Board.”

The board will be empowered to “continually assess and regulate food prices, maintaining a strategic food reserve for stabilising prices of crucial grains and other food items,” he explained.

But Tinubu affirmed that his administration would not set up any such board.

Rather, it is evolving home-grown solutions to address the nation’s food security challenges by setting up schemes to support local production and discourage all forms of rent-seeking associated with food importation.

On security, Tinubu approved the establishment of a committee comprising state governors and Federal Government representatives to, among other things, explore the modalities for establishing state police.

He stated, “My position at this meeting is that we must move aggressively and establish a committee to look critically at the issues raised, including the possibility of establishing state police.

“From Kano, we have read reports about large-scale hoarding of food in some warehouses. The National Security Adviser, the Inspector-General of Police, and the Director-General of the Department of State Services should coordinate very closely and ensure that security agencies in the states inspect such warehouses with follow-up action.

“We must ensure that speculators, hoarders, and rent seekers are not allowed to sabotage our efforts in ensuring the wide availability of food to all Nigerians. What I will not do is to set a price control board. I will not also approve the importation of food.”

Tinubu reasoned that his administration could get Nigerians out of the dire food crisis “because importation will allow rent seekers to perpetrate fraud and mismanagement at our collective expense.”

Instead, the FG would support farmers with schemes enabling them to farm and grow more food for everyone in the country.

“We must also look at the rapid but thoughtful implementation of our livestock development and management plans, including dairy farming and others,” the President added.

He also endorsed the training and equipping of forest rangers by sub-national governments to safeguard human and natural resources in local communities.

Tinubu urged the governors to trust the Central Bank of Nigeria with the management of the country’s monetary policy, emphasising the importance of allowing designated institutions to fulfill their mandate effectively.

He said the “Cacophony of postulations” on the fluctuation of foreign exchange rates was unduly affecting the market negatively.

“Every one of us cannot be an expert. If we have given someone an assignment, let us allow them to do it. If they cannot do it, then we find a way to quickly get them out of the system.”

The President asked the governors to always make the welfare and prosperity of the people a priority of their development programmes, assuring them that the Federal Government would continue to work diligently to improve the nation’s revenue profile.

At the meeting, Tinubu and the governors also emphasised the importance of working together to address issues of insecurity, food security, and out-of-school children.

Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum thanked the President for convening the meeting. They affirmed the governors’ commitment to partnering closely with the federal government.