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Opinion

Foodstuff price hike: Rimin Gado, the only way

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Food Stuffs

 

 

 

 

By Abdulyassar Abdulhamid

 

 

 

Foodstuff hike has made Life in Nigeria today devastating and difficult. No doubt Coronavirus has disrupted the status quo, rubbing salt into the wounds the people have been nursing overtime.

 

 

 

The masses are bending so hard with the changing circumstances. They dance, stalk, wriggle and oftentimes standstill with it due to Foodstuff hike

 

 

 

Although the menace of price hike especially of the poor’s staple food has bitten so hard, it is not something new. Nigeria’s brinkmanship is out of this world. In this country, things are only addressed when they reach to the point of collapse.

 

 

 

Whether among public officers or the masses, the rich or the poor, there are two types of man on this geographical location called Nigeria: that who wants to build a protective wall around the country to defend against any scourge and the other who wants mar, brings suffering. The latter does not care if the country were to explode and Foodstuff hike is among

 

 

 

Discerning minds must have seen it coming. A report conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), from September 2018 to October 2019 about poverty and inequality indicated that “40 percent of people in the continent’s most populous country lived below its poverty line of 137,430 nairas ($381.75) a year”. Isn’t it sad for one to live by a river and wash his hands with spittle?

 

 

 

Simply put, even before the emergence of Covid-19 more than 82.9 million people in the country were, and still are, living in abject poverty and Foodstuff and balance diet is one of their nightmare

 

 

 

Now Coronavirus has come biting hard not only in Nigeria but the world over. Many economies have come under the virus’s heavy boots and the impact is disastrous.

 

 

 

Right now, the world’s mind has split into two: one, to nurse the fatal injuries the virus has inflicted upon the economy and two, to search, though not in a haste, for a cure for the virus.

 

 

 

In Nigeria, things have gone beyond the pale. Nigerians, especially the poor, are on short rations. For many families, once the current rations run out they will face absolute hunger and starvation. God forbid! Foodstuff hike is devastating them,

 

 

 

The rich may understand the ‘new normal” but not feel its full force until they see the sleepy sunken eyes of the gardener at their backyard or arthritically frail hands of their drivers.

 

 

 

For how long? Just a year away the Muhammadu Buhari administration opted for “border drill” meant, largely, to curb smuggling, boost food production, and, also, to in particular fast-track the country’s quest for rice self-sufficiency.

 

 

 

Tens of rice milling factories and clusters have sprung up. One needs not to be told of job creation and revenue generation. To quote the Rice Millers Association, previously “over 200,000 bags of rice were occupying spaces in the warehouses of virtually every integrated rice miller before the border drill started in August, while many small scale rice holders or rice clusters had to abandon their small scale but valuable means of livelihood.”

 

 

 

So they told the Federal delegation, led by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, which was on tour to Kano State sometime in 2019.

 

 

 

The story has miraculously changed. In August last year, the association told the delegation the border drill has drastically reduced the influx of smuggled rice, giving the entire rice production value chain a new lease of life.

 

 

 

Within a week of the drill, every integrated rice miller exhausted the milled rice in their warehouses, recalled laid-off staff, and resumed production. The existing 34 rice mills resumed production at maximum capacity, 24/7.

 

 

 

Has the policy paid up? The answer is “not yet”. The gain (perhaps loss) hasn’t been commensurate with the resources and the energy the federal government has invested and the patience the citizens have exercised.

 

 

 

One, there is an enormous tripodal structure of price hike in the country. The prices of foodstuffs, meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, and other essential items have skyrocketed beyond the reach of the poor.

 

 

 

Two, there is a hike in the price of flour. Foreigners still manipulate the market in Nigeria and increase prices at will. The implication is that the hike will definitely affect the prices of products sourced from flour.  Hasn’t the price of semolina, paste and wheat offal shot up?

 

 

 

The foreigners’ industries have incomparable production capacity. This threatens local industries as many are out of the market.

 

 

 

Third, farmers are left at the mercy of fertilizer scarcity and hike. The bag of 50kg NPK that was formerly sold at N5,000 is now sold at N7,900 to N13,000. The increase is by 70%. Is this practicable in other climes where machinery are always on alert to regulate the market?

 

 

 

The saddest part of this mire Nigerians have found themselves in is that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) is aware of the “price range” not only in flour but other commodities, so the management said. (read a report by the Daily Trust entitled Foreigners to manipulate flour market in Nigeria, published August 31, 2020).

 

 

 

Perhaps it is strategizing. Isn’t it another brinkmanship stunt? Rimin Gado is the only way to go. And the Nigerian Government should employ the strategy.

 

 

 

Bullies understand only the language of resistance. They fear that person who stands his ground and says no to their excesses.

 

 

 

What the government needs is a Johnny-on-the-spot ready to work within the law and address the issue. This may not be a one-off thing, but it will surely bring succor to the masses.

 

 

 

Example of Muhuyi Magaji Rimin Gado!

 

 

 

 

 

When Kano State found itself in the jaw of stinging food commodity price hike during the Covid-19, lockdown, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje directed the no-nonsense chairman of the state anti-graft commission to swing into action. The price of food commodities then had soared by 100%. The governor’s concern was that if the situation was left unrestrained it would turn into a permanent scenario.

 

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Immediately Muhuyi Magaji Rimin Gado jumped into action. There was the oscillating from one market, supermarket, warehouses to another. The commission had received a series of complaints on an unnecessary hike of commodity prices by retailers.

 

 

 

He met with market leaders and associations, dealers, supermarket owners, and the Rice Processors Association (RIPAN).

 

 

 

An investigation was instantly launched by the agency. Hours later there were warehouses where essential commodities were being hoarded sealed and some items confiscated. In no time the marketers were dismounting their bully horse.

 

 

 

 

 

Sugar that was sold at N26,000 before the commission’s intervention reverted to its former price of N16,000 per bag and even the made-in-Nigeria rice that had reached up to N26,000 was reduced to N16,000.

 

 

 

I have learned that farmers and the masses are blaming the federal government and the government on its part is blaming other forces for the hike. Enough of passing the buck! Let the government take responsibility, take its cue from the Government of Kano State and mold its own Muhuyi Magaji to save Nigerians. And the time is now.

 

 

 

Abdulhamid wrote via abdullahiyassar2013@gmail.com

Opinion

Harvard University Library Has 20 Million Books- Dr. Yushau

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Dr Muhammad Jameel Yushau

 

By Dr. Muhammad Jameel Yushau

The Harvard University experience is incomplete without discussing the abundant #learning opportunity offered by Harvard University library.

Harvard University has the oldest university library system in the United States. The library was established in 1638 and there are 28 libraries currently under the #university library system. It comprises 20 million books, 700 staff, 6 million digitized and publicly available items, 1 million maps and spatial data sets and 400 million rare items that include photographs, letters and manuscripts as stated by the university library page.

Harvard library

Harvard’s library

The Widener library, which is the largest and located at the Harvard Yard is where I enjoy spending part of my weekend. Widener library is an architectural edifice and a tourist attraction. Many visitors to Massachusetts State visit Widener Library as part of their touristic voyage.

A student is allowed to bring at least four guests to study in the library. So myself and my family utilize this opportunity especially during the weekends.

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The Widener library was named after Harry Elkins Widener, a book collector, businessman and 1907 graduate from Harvard University. He died in the titanic accident of April 1912 along with his father. But his mother survived. The surviving mother gave $2 million grant to start the library in the name of her son. In addition to the 6 million digitized items, there are materials in 450 languages in the library.

Students at the site

Students at the site

Takeaway: The backbone of a university is the quality of its library. Contributing to the library is not the exclusive preserve of the university, but a public responsibility.

Dr Yushau is a candidate for the Mid-Career Master Program in Public Administration, and Editor-in-Chief of Africa Policy Journal

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Opinion

Collective action essential on Climate Change Action

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Jibril Salisu Nainna

 

By Jibril Salisu Na’inna.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s article that was recently published by the Washington post was apt and represents a strong voice of reason not only for Nigeria or Africa, but the whole world.

It is easy to rate it appropriately as an article conveying the right massage for humanity at a time the crisis in Ukraine is deflecting attention from the grim climate changes that are causing despair around the world.

The article has exposed the level of imbalance in some global agendas in which some countries and regions do not show sufficient commitment so long those countries or regions feel less affected by the devastating impact of climate change.

It is indeed true that the big economies are unwilling to stop or reduce their emissions that are responsible for global warming and climate change. And they are also shy of making the requisite agreed financial releases necessary to mitigate the impact of climate change,especially in developing countries.

President Muhammadu Buhari was on point when he advised the rich countries not to create the impression that the world cannot invest in its own safety against climate change.

“Don’t tell Africa that the world cannot afford the climate cost of its hydrocarbons — and then fire up coal stations whenever Europe feels an energy pinch. Don’t tell the poorest in the world that their marginal energy use will break the carbon budget — only to sign off on new domestic permits for oil and gas exploration. It gives the impression your citizens have more of a right to energy than Africans,” he said.

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It can be recalled that the rich countries that contributed most to the climate crisis and pledged that to spend $25 billion by 2025 to boost Africa’s efforts to adapt to climate change as the continent continues to struggle with drought, cyclones and extreme heat, as reported by Africanews.

But they have, sadly, failed to make that promise good.”Governments have repeatedly failed to meet their commitments to the $100 billion fund for climate adaptation and mitigation in the developing world — for the mess their own industries caused.”

 

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt where COP27 is holding has reawaken the consciousness of Africa to demand equal input and enough action with overall sincere commitment to confronting and mitigating the adverse negative effect of climate change facing the world especially the developing and poor countries with very low or no contribution to global carbon emission.

Indeed, Nigeria is not left out of the adverse crisis, the president reminded the world that Nigerian case was not different where he said “Part of my nation is underwater. Seasonal flooding is normal in Nigeria, but not like this. Thirty-four of the country’s 36 states have been affected. More than 1.4 million people have been displaced” it is a verifiable fact, of which Jigawa state of northwestern Nigeria is the most affected state this year.

Nevertheless, for Africa to adopt resolutions of the conference fully enough, countries that made pledges to support developing countries must be committed and any source of survival that must left for the good, must firstly be substituted with an alternative means.

COP 2022 must be a truthful rise to act collectively so as to see more meaning and right actions taken ahead of next conference in 2023.

Jibril Salisu Na’inna is a student and pan Africanist wrote from ABU Zaria.
Jibrilsalisunainna @gmail.com

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Opinion

Intervention Of Elder statesman :Way Out For ASUU- FG Face OFF

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Abdurrahman Joji Adamu

 

Abdurrahman Joji Adamu

The leadership of all University based unions should seek the audience and intervention of General Abdussalami Abubakar regarding the crisis and uncertainty of the Govt to address issues lingering in our Federal Universities, because the Federal government in my opinion, has adopted “competition” as the conflict mechanism tool to defeat ASUU and other University unions, The government is trying to satisfy their own desires at the expense of the other parties.

ASUU had in over the years being going on strikes, whenever they are on strike they table huge demands for the government to look into and addresses them, some of these grievances got considerate hiring by previous regimes and administrations. Part of the successes of ASUU strike overtime gave birth to tertiary intervention fund, which without tetfund intervention our Universities could have been like community public secondary schools.

This time around, the eight month strike had degenerates alot of war of words. looking at the aggressive nature of government ministers on the issue, series of meeting to resolve the strike were proved abortive until the intervention of the speaker of house of representative whom in his capacity and wisdom tried his best, ASUU agrees to back off.

It was apparent that all the striking unions were all tired and some are even ready for a fallback position. But the government in it inhuman nature has refused to give a compassionate attention on the matter by paying backlogs salaries to enable people go back to work, the repercussion had made so many of academic staff having no passion for their jobs anymore.

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Former president Goodluck Jonathan sometimes ago gave a highlight on how he solved the problem of ASUU then, in single day, without doubt we consider the statement of the former President as a challenge posed on President Buhari in order to take clue and expedite measures to resolve the strike issues, but the president gave an absent minded attitude on the lingering issue.

The essence of Government at whatever level is to provide leadership and service to the people. The arrogant nature of both ministers made negotiations deadlocked all times.

Those who think they are too big to serve should not be brought near public offices.

Ministers must not only be suitably qualified for their posts; they must also be willing to serve with all sense of expertise and humility.

With the inability of the ministers to make ASUU- cease fire on these stagnating negotiation and crafty promises, i think the president should re-visit the constitution in order to comprehend his presidential powers and duties accordingly.

 

 

Elder statesmen are seen globally as eminent senior members of a Nation especially : a retired statesman who unofficially advises current leaders. I believe the General can make peace out of these dilemma our Universities are facing. In record we have seen how the General chaired the peace accord committee in 2015 election and without doubt the committee conducted a brilliant work by making the power of incumbency irrelevant and opposition taking over the government.

I think the academics should search for a war veteran like him who has also fulfilled the promise of relinquishing power, perhaps he would advise the government impartially so they would understand.

 

Abdulrahman Joji Adamu
Write from Kano

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