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Food prices escalate as insecurity worsens after President Tinubu’s one year

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FG’s palliatives face integrity questions amid worsening poverty

The conditions in the country have never been so aggravated that survival has become the order of the day, as Nigerians grapple with the worsening economic situation. In churches and mosques, religious preachers are lamenting the state of affairs and exhorting their followers to turn to God as political leaders have failed the nation.

With the Muslim festivity of Eid Fitr being celebrated, price went up 50 percent, with most faithful unable to mark the occasion. This is attributed to rising insecurity since the present government of President Bola Tinubu came to power one year ago, coupled with the twin policies of fuel subsidy removal and naira devastating, which have brought the economy to its knees.

Figures available to us reveal that the past one year has recorded more incidents of insecurity and accompanying fatalities since 1999.

According informed data from the Nigeria Security Tracker, the estimated number of fatalities during the tenure of Buhari was 63,111. In his first year in office, Tinubu has underperformed in the area of security, he fell short of strengthening the nation’s security, despite his assurances to the contrary.

As one commentator puts it, “The president seems irritated by the mere mention of the word insecurity, which may explain why he handed it to northerners.”

The SBM Intelligence platform has given a damning report that shows approximately 5,000 Nigerians were murdered and 7,000 kidnapped during President Tinubu’s first year in office. The deadly Niger State ambush and aircraft accident that occurred on 14 August, 2023, just a few months after President Tinubu’s inauguration, also claimed the lives of no less than 36 officers and soldiers.

Under President Tinubu, insecurity has remained a bugbear, a fundamental challenge that has persisted in plaguing the Nigerian state. The country is beset by banditry in the North-West, the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, the attacks by Fulani herdsmen in the North Central, participants, Plateau and Benue states, and militancy in the Niger Delta.

Informed analysts are of the view that the Tinubu administration is incrementally making a significant contribution to a decline in national security.

Prof. Adeagbo Moritiwon, a political scientist, said “the administration’s economic policies, which have further pauperised the citizens, have in no small way driven the people further afield, making them up their criminal game. An hungry man is an angry man; sociologists teach us that those category of people are ready to break the law and subvert societal values.”

Dr. Abiobio Ligalu, a sociologist, said “unwittingly this administration has contributed to a swell in crimes as a result of widening the gulf between the rich and the poor, it’s of account that Tinubu has finished the business of wiping out the middle class. I often wonder how our leaders think, and what kind of thinking goes on in their mind.”

He said, “A sense of insecurity within a nation frequently results in an increased sense of suspicion towards outsiders and even fellow citizens, which may cause social divisions. A nation engulfed in insecurity may lose investors and investments due to potential economic instability. The propensity of individuals to be business-oriented or even pursue educational opportunities may be diminished, thereby impeding the nation’s overall development. And in this milieu, crime, kidnappings and banditry increase, as the criminal- minded individuals seek ways to make money outside of the law.”

Ironically, when President Tinubu was sworn into office on May 29, 2023, he promised to end the insecurity that had almost brought the country to its knees. Though it’s true that before he assumed leadership of the country, Nigeria had witnessed seemingly unrestricted killings by non-state actors, so Nigerians anxiously waited to see how his government would tackle the massive security challenges that bedevilled the country over the past few years.

Tinubu said he was ready to provide security and rebuild the economy. He said if elected president, he would eliminate criminals, including terrorists.

Data speaks

Despite the promises made by Tinubu on security, data from various sources showed that the security situation has little or no change under his administration, as over 600 people were killed under him within 45 days.
Data from SBM Intelligence, an analysis platform, revealed that about 629 Nigerians were killed within 45 days across the country under President Tinubu between May 29 and July 13, 2023.

A report by a civil society organisation, Global Rights Nigeria, revealed that at least 555 people had been killed and 267 others abducted six weeks after President Tinubu took office.

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Also, in a report published on June 14, Amnesty International (AI) said more than 120 people were killed a few days after Tinubu assumed power.

This is an approximate average of 26 persons killed daily between January 2024 and the end of March 2024.

Many Nigerians have expressed disappointment at the failure of the Tinubu administration to end banditry.

In January, following a surge in kidnapping cases, a former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, sent cautionary advice to Tinubu to resign if he could not handle the insecurity challenges currently bedeviling Nigeria.

Atiku, who contested the last presidential election against Tinubu on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said this in a post on his X handle on Tuesday, January 30. He accused the President of being a fiddler when the nation was insecure. On Monday, January 29, civil society organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria appealed to Tinubu to declare an emergency due to the nation’s insecurity.

On March 14, 2024, four officers and 13 soldiers were murdered in Okuama, Delta State. The officers were said to have been killed by some youths while the troops were on a peace mission to the Okuoma community in Bomadi Local Government Area (LGA).

“In the midst of this unprecedented suffering, the administration continues to tell Nigerians to bear the suffering promising Eldorado of unclear, uncertain future, in yet another deception of the citizens. While asking Nigerians to bear the heat of his economic policies, and to make sacrifices, the National Assembly members running into over 460 bought SUVs costing N160 million each.”

Rachael Bitiyong, a political science undergraduate, told Business Hallmark.
Since taking office in May last year, Tinubu has implemented reforms including slashing fuel and electricity subsidies and devaluing the naira currency twice to try to increase investment and boost output. He says the policies are necessary to put Nigeria on a long-term growth path.

But the economy is growing well short of the 6% annual expansion targeted by Tinubu, while the reforms have driven inflation to a 33-year high, worsening a cost-of-living crisis.
Analysts say economic hardship is also fuelling crime, which in turn is hurting people’s livelihoods.

Bismarck Rewane, a prominent economic analyst, who was appointed to Tinubu’s economic council in March, agreed with the need for economic reforms but said more attention should have been paid to their implementation.

“The reforms came too quickly but there was no concrete plan to deal with the impact these reforms would have on the people,” he said.

Basic commodities are beyond the reach of ordinary citizens.

A single yam which used to go for N800 before Tinubu’s administration is now N3000, while a bag of rice hovers around N80,000, while a bag of beans nestles N85,000, while tomatoes are beyond the reach of citizens. A basket of tomatoes, which went for N15,000 before is now N100,000. Chicken that used to go for N2300 is now N5500, making it impossible for a family of four not to spend more than N10,000 to prepare a soup.

This has affected numerous citizens, especially, individuals with low incomes, who devote a substantial proportion of their earnings to necessities. Since inflation undermines the ability of people to afford their fundamental necessities by eroding their purchasing power, middle- and lower-class populations are disproportionately affected by this circumstance, which exacerbates pre-existing socioeconomic inequalities.

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