THE coronavirus pandemic has contributed a lot to the current food inflation ravaging Nigerian families. Coming in February/March, the beginning of the planting season, and forcing a prolonged national lockdown, it prevented many of our farmers from sowing their seeds.
Food inflation, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, rose from 16.66 per cent to 17.38 per cent in September this year and getting worse as the year draws to a close.
General inflation in the economy stands at 14.33 per cent. The prices of staple food items such as yam, garri, pepper, onions, rice, tomatoes and others have gone sky high at a time when the incomes of average families have dwindled or run out altogether due to layoffs and pay cuts.
It promises to be a very bleak Yuletide festive period.
The situation we face could have been much more manageable if the President Muhammadu Buhari administration had made good its campaign promise of solving our security problem which is part of the regime’s three-point agenda: economy, security and anti-corruption.
Indeed, the security situation has worsened under the watch of this regime due mainly to poor management and the kid gloves with which it has treated aspects of our insecurity.
Though the Federal Government often beat its chest that it has dislodged Boko Haram jihadists from their captured territories, the terrorists have multiplied beyond Boko Haram, with the Islamic State in West Africa Province, ISWAP, now equally formidable.
The foreign bandits that some evil politicians had brought to fight their turf wars have now turned their guns on residents of states in the North West and North Central, particularly Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna Niger and parts of Kogi.
Also, armed Fulani militias from all parts of Africa masquerading as herdsmen have flooded the forests and farmlands of states in the Middle Belt and South, killing and kidnapping for ransom, robbing, destroying farmlands with their cattle and forcibly settling on people’s lands.
Curiously, the herdsmen militias are the only terrorist groups that government has refused to tag the terrorists that they are. It has also refrained from deploying the army to flush them out of our bushes.
All these agents of insecurity marauding all over Nigeria have succeeded in displacing farming communities and making farming unsafe.
Farmers are afraid to engage in their legitimate occupation. With the closure of the borders and restrictions on food importation, it is not surprising that Nigeria is on the verge of famine.
If the Federal Government is unwilling to get rid of the armed herdsmen, then it should allow each community to deal with them and allow farmers back to work. Without solving our insecurity problems there are simply no other ways out of this problem.