President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday night, arrived back in Nigeria following a two-week private trip to Paris, France.
At around nine o’clock at night, the presidential aircraft, NAF 001, made landfall at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
Top government officials, including Secretary to the Government of the Federation George Akume, National Security Adviser Nuhu Ribadu, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nyesom Wike, and Chief of Staff Femi Gbajabiamila, received the President.
The Governor of Kaduna State, Uba Sani, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, and Yusuf Bichi, the Director-General of the Department of State Service, were also present on the receiving line.
Although the presidency remained silent on the reason for the visit, the Nigerian leader was billed to return “in the first week of February 2024,” a statement announcing his departure on January 24 noted.
This was Tinubu’s fourteenth overseas journey since taking office eight months ago, and his third visit to France.
He comes back in the midst of state-wide demonstrations over growing food and living expenses.
Monday and Tuesday saw irate women and young people protesting against what they saw to be the nation’s rising cost of living in the streets of Kano and Minna, the capital of Niger State. In Nigeria’s southwest state of Ondo State, comparable protests also broke out.
Muhammed Idris, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, stated on Tuesday that Tinubu has ordered prompt actions to lessen the suffering and prevent a worsening of the security situation.
“What I will tell Nigerians is that the President has directed that government needs to step in to stem this tide. The government will not fold its arms and see how Nigerians are suffering regarding the availability of these food items.
“So, I want to plead with you to understand with the government. By the time these meetings are concluded, we’ll be able to issue a definite statement on the government’s position in this regard. But all I can say is that discussions are ongoing, and very soon, a solution is in sight for Nigerians.”
Idris contended that Nigeria had an ample supply of food and disclosed that the Federal Government was engaging in discussions with millers and prominent commodity traders to increase supply, with the aim of lowering the prices of certain commodities.
He further asserted that certain individuals were exploiting the elevated food prices and the devaluation of the naira to cause disruption.
“The government is also talking to major millers and major commodity traders, also to see what is available in their stores, to open it up so the government will provide some intervention, discuss with them, provide some intervention to make this food available to Nigerians.
“What the government is noticing is that actually there is still food in this country. Some people are taking advantage of the situation, especially because of the depreciation in the value of our currency, which has led to the cost of these food items also going up.
“So, all these issues were discussed…the National Security Adviser was there because this also has some national security implications. All these have been discussed,” the minister explained.