President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has ordered the immediate release of more than 102,000 metric tons of various grain types from the National Food Reserve and the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria.
The order is said to be a temporary response by the governemtn to the nation’s growing food crisis and the rising cost of commodities.
Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, stated this while fielding questions from State House Reporters, shortly after the meeting of the Presidential Committee on Food Emergency which held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.
He said the President has directed that food will be made available, whatever it will take”
The decision came after series of deliberation by the committee, in reaction to the protests by Nigerians over high cost of food and other economic challenges.
Idris said, “The first one is that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has been directed to release about 42,000 metric tons of maize, millet, garri, and other commodities in their strategic reserve so that these items will be made available to Nigerians; 42,000 metric tons immediately.
“The second one is that we have held meetings with the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria. Those who are responsible for producing this rice and we have asked them to open up their stores.
“They’ve told us that they can guarantee about 60,000 metric tons of rice. This will be made available and we know that that is enough to take Nigerians the next one month to six weeks, perhaps up to two months.”
The minister revealed that the administration will resort to importing to augment any shortages observed after the release of the food items.
“Now, the third item is that government is also looking at the possibility, if it becomes absolutely necessary, as an interim measure in the short run to also import some of these commodities,” he revealed
The minister who declined to mention specifics affirmed the FG’s readiness to take punitive measures against those he called food hoarders.