Ensure transparency in FG grain distribution — LP, PDP

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On Sunday, the two biggest opposition parties urged the Federal Government to fulfil its promise to release 102,000 metric tonnes of varied grains as a short-term solution to the country’s food crisis.

In two separate interviews, the leadership of both the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party asked President Bola Tinubu’s administration to redeem itself by keeping its commitments, pointing out that the government had failed to honour earlier promises.

The Federal Government had last Thursday announced plans to release 42,000 metric tons of maize, millet, garri and other commodities from the National Strategic Grain Reserve.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Idris Mohammed, who disclosed this, said the Federal Government also reached an agreement with the  Rice Millers Association of Nigeria to release 60,000 metric tons of rice.

The measure by the government followed spreading protests by Nigerians over the high cost of living and rise in the prices of foodstuffs.

Reacting to the promise by the Federal Government, the spokesman for the Labour Party Campaign Organisation, Yunusa Tanko, said the Tinubu government must keep its promise this time, noting that previous promises made by the government were not fulfilled.

“102,000 metric tonnes of grain? I doubt. The problem with this APC-led government is that they make pronouncement but won’t follow it. They only use it to play to the gallery without looking at its implementation and execution. They will lie to the people but won’t execute it. Even the N25,000 they promised Nigerians since last year, we are already in February and nothing has been given to the people.

“The same thing goes with palliatives, which always end up in private pockets. Today, the palliatives have already been misappropriated by one of the ministers in this particular administration. At the same time, this same government promised to increase the salaries of civil servants. This government is giving Nigerians ‘pain promax’ by continuing from where the former administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari stopped.

“The pain is too much and the masses are the ones feeling it. A dog doesn’t know his owner is having a party until he begins to see bones on the floor,” he lamented.

Speaking in the same vein, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Abdullahi Ibrahim,  said, “We need to keep reminding ourselves that Nigerians are hungry. It has got to a level where virtually everybody is folding their hand and assessing the situation of things. I don’t think the approach is an informed one. However, given the circumstances surrounding the situation in Nigeria now, that may be considered if this government is truly sincere about it. That is where the caveat lies. But I am not sure they are as determined as one will want them to be. That is just the problem.

“The truth is that you can’t claim to have food stored anywhere and then Nigerians are going to bed hungry. If the food is there, we don’t even need any pronouncement, release the food and let Nigerians eat. That way, you can concentrate on other pressing challenges, such as insecurity that has overwhelmed them since they came in.

“But even with this short-term measure for food shortage, I really don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel because their approach is not informed. The surge in crime currently, I can tell you, is connected to this hunger people are lamenting about.

“The position of the party is for them to pursue the objective they just announced with sincerity and hope it temporarily alleviates the suffering of the citizens to the barest minimum.”