*Pays outstanding N600 billion owed to fuel marketers in subsidy payments
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – As a way of cushioning the effect of poverty and hunger in the land, President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday directed the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh to release 10,000 tons of grains from the national strategic grains reserves for national distribution.
The directive was also a counter measure to the current astronomic prices of goods and seeming exploitation within the market system.
The president also directed the agriculture minister “to ensure that all the able-bodied men and women in IDP camps be assisted to return to farming immediately.”
President Buhari’s directive followed a submission by a faction of the opposition Conference of Nigerian Political Parties,CNPP, that Nigerians under the president’s watch were facing unprecedented hardship.
President’s charge was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the president on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
Shehu in the statement also stated that the president upon assumption of office paid off accumulated subsidy debts of N600 billion owed to marketers.
This was as he stated that there were social programmes captured in the 2016 budgets to Bette the lot of Nigerians.
He refuted claims that the presidency would allow Nigerians to suffer.
The statement read in part:
“The Presidency however asserts that the devastation of the economy was caused by the Boko Haram insurgency, corruption and the lack of planning by the past administrations and one that should not be blamed on the Change Agenda of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“The Presidency firmly rejects the insinuations that poverty and lack are products of the Change mantra.
“This should be dismissed as an erroneous and misplaced opposition criticism. The President understands the pain and the cries of the citizens of this country and he is spending sleepless nights over how he can make life better for everyone.
“Contrary to assertions by a faction of the opposition Conference of Nigerian Political Parties,CNPP, the President’s energy and focus are on changing the life of Nigerians, with a view to making it better than he met it.
“Change is a process. Change does not happen overnight. Change can be inconvenient. Change sometimes comes with pain. Over the past year, the government has been working night and day to deliver on its promise of change to Nigerians, and the painful process is still ongoing.
“This is work in progress. As life gradually returns to normal in much of the country and the northeast in particular, agriculture will resume and traders from neighbouring African countries will once again feel safe to do business with us–yet another boost for our economy.
“But it Is only when we appreciate where we are coming that we will grasp the full meaning and essence of what the ongoing journey entails.