“The World Food Programme and other research bodies have been upbeat about this issue and the projections are very gloomy. How can you kill farmers and chase others from their farms and farmlands and chew out cheap promises and hunger-free future?”
The recent presidential order to the service chiefs to secure the country and make it conducive enough for farmers to return to the farms gives a sense of hope. But the question is: Can the total confidence of farmers be restored for them to return to the farms without the fears of marauding AK47 – wielding herders’ threats to their lives, wives, children and farms?
As every Nigerian knows, the present administration has since been expressing deep concerns that there might be a severe food shortage this year. Let’s be reminded that the country is experiencing the second phase of COVID-19. In addition, is the malignant security problems as well as unpredictable ruptures in the prices of commodities in the market that have made life worse for the citizens. The global economic outlook does not make the situation better either.
The world has seen and continues to experience one of the worst moments in history in terms of overwhelming humanitarian crises orchestrated by COVID-19, local and regional conflicts. Of course, Nigeria is not an exception. Besides, there is a deeper issue of security problem in virtually every region. North-central that is essentially the food belt of the country has been plagued with social instability on account of farmers-herders conflicts and mindless killings of peasants under dangerous ethnoreligious politics. North-west, another food production region, has become a haven for banditry and a creeping insurgency. North-east is already a write-off.
Can the entire Southern regional block feed itself let alone the nation? Even the South is not so safe with reports of clandestine infiltration of armed gangs suspected from the North. The government keeps throwing public funds away into bottomless pits in the name of vaguely defined streams of agricultural loans and grants to “farmers”, “entrepreneurs”, “cooperatives”, etc, in a manner that is more of racketeering than a structured system.
The World Food Programme and other research bodies have been upbeat about this issue and the projections are very gloomy. How can you kill farmers and chase others from their farms and farmlands and chew out cheap promises and a hunger-free future? The Nigerian government needs to be realistic, decisive and honest in its assessment and quest for genuine solutions. Unless we address the security situation without a political bend, there is no easy way out of the security quagmire and looming hunger in 2021.
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