From Elohor Igbru, Abuja
There is famine coming to many states in Nigeria and insecurity will be the trigger, the Nigeria House of Representatives has warned.
The House also said the famine would occur because farmers across Nigeria have been displaced from farms by terrorists and kidnappers.
According to the House, the security crisis in the country is eroding the achievements of the Federal Government led by the President on the agricultural revolution in the country.
A House member, Sani Bala, raised the alarm via a motion of urgent public importance at the plenary on Thursday, and the lawmakers unanimously adopted.
Bala cited the recent projection by the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation that an estimated 13 million people in Nigeria would face the risk of acute food insecurity in the next few months.
He quoted the report as saying that the number of people in critical or worse phases of food insecurity may increase to about 16.9 million unless efforts are made to provide adequate support and government intervention to ensure recovery and resilience.
The lawmaker said that the Federal Government has promoted massive agricultural development in recent times, leading to the closure of land borders against the importation of some staple food in order to encourage adequate local production and food sufficiency.
However, “The House is concerned that agricultural activities, production and its overall development in the country have been adversely affected by insurgency and banditry activities, especially in the northern parts, where bandits have taken over farmlands – cultivated farmlands – and agricultural produce are burnt and destroyed.
“Farmers have stopped going to their farmlands for fear of being killed or kidnapped and in some other instances. Farmers are taxed by bandits to access their farmlands;
“The House is also concerned that in addition to insecurity, the advent of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed immensely to reducing agricultural production activities in the country.
“The House is further concerned that the impact of COVID-19 alone has occasioned severe and widespread increases in global food insecurity, thereby affecting vulnerable households in almost every country, with impacts expected to continue into 2022 and possibly beyond.
“The House is disturbed that the increasing rate of global food insecurity has caused countries like China to adopt an Action Plan on saving food, which signals the imperativeness of guarding our relatively diminishing harvest of food produce.
“The House is alarmed that, despite signals of impending global food shortages, the daily illegal movement of 40 to 50 trucks of millet, maize, guinea corn, etc., out of the country to neighbouring countries further depletes Nigeria’s food bank and is an attempt to increase the woes that may result from food crisis,” Bala said.
Adopting the motion, the House urged the Federal Government to “declare a state of emergency on staple food produce and initiate a deliberate plan of averting any impending famine or food shortage in the post COVID-19 era.”