Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari has blamed middlemen, whom he said are taking advantage of insecurity in the country, for rising food prices.
The president who said this in his Eid-el-Kabir message, however, urged Nigerians to exercise patience as his administration continues to address the current challenges facing the country.
The president’s which was conveyed in statement by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson, also said his government has invested heavily in the production of local products, more than any administration in history.
The president restated his government’s determination to create a just, harmonious and prosperous country in which the safety of life and property is assured.
On current challenges facing the country, Buhari said the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the economy of Nigeria and that floods have also caused large scale destruction to farmlands, thereby impacting negatively “on our efforts to boost local production in line with our policy to drastically reduce food importation.”
According to Buhari, “Apart from the destruction caused to rice farms by floods, middlemen have also taken advantage of the local rice production to exploit fellow Nigerians, thereby undermining our goal of supporting local food production at affordable prices.
“No government in our recent history has invested as heavily as we are doing to promote local production of about 20 other commodities, through the provision of loans and several other forms of support to our farmers.
“As an elected president who enjoys the goodwill of the ordinary people that gave us their mandate, let me assure you that we are continuing with measures to bring relief to Nigerians, including making fertilizer available at affordable prices to our farmers.”
The president also noted that the current insecurity in the country “has produced severe and adverse effects on agriculture because farmers are prevented from accessing their farms by bandits and terrorists.
“Let me also use this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that we are taking measures to address our security challenges. We have started taking delivery of fighter aircraft and other necessary military equipment and hardware to improve the capacity of our security forces to confront terrorism and banditry,” he said.
Speaking on the significance of the Eid-el-Kabir celebration, the president appealed to Muslims to demonstrate the good virtues of Islam through personal examples and practices and avoid taking advantage of the festive season to exploit citizens through outrageous prices of food items.
“As practising believers, we shouldn’t seek obscene profits by making life difficult and miserable for others. We should not seek happiness at the expense of others,” he said.
“I urge all Muslims to continue to live in peace and harmony with their fellow Nigerians of other faiths in the spirit of peaceful coexistence. Let us pray for the progress of Nigeria at all times. Let us expose undesirable elements among us who are creating security problems for the country.”