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Subsidy removal: Nigerians facing difficulty accessing food items – Expert

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Professor Abdulazeez Lawal, a lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management at the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), has argued that the removal of fuel subsidies and the floating of the exchange rate have created challenges for many Nigerians in accessing food items.

Lawal made this assertion during his presentation at the 244th UNILORIN Inaugural Lecture, titled ‘Making Ends Meet With Food Security.’ He cited data from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which revealed that the consumer price index increased from 22.22 percent to 24.41 percent between April and May 2023.

He pointed out that the food inflation rate rose from 24.61 percent in April to 24.82 percent in May 2023, representing a 5.33 percent point increase compared to the 19.5 percent recorded in May 2022.

The professor, who teaches in UNILORIN’s Faculty of Agriculture, noted that an estimated 17 million people were at risk of food insecurity in October 2022. He emphasized that unless immediate measures are taken to address the ongoing surge in food prices, Nigeria will continue to grapple with acute food insecurity.

Lawal stressed the significance of agriculture as a crucial component of the global food system, with substantial socio-economic importance for many countries, including employment generation, nutrition, and rural development. He highlighted that agriculture is likely to be the primary driver of economic and social development in the near future for numerous nations.

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He also pointed out that smallholder farmers are responsible for over 80 percent of the world’s food production, and people living in rural areas are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity due to limited access to food and financial resources.

With over 200 million people in Nigeria, approximately 80 percent depend on small-scale agriculture for their food requirements. Lawal recommended the improvement of agricultural production and rural livelihood activities to enhance food supplies and increase the income of farming households.

Furthermore, he advised governments at all levels to enhance funding and effectively implement food security programs. He called for policy strategies that promote technology transfer and the adoption of modern farming techniques by smallholder farmers.

Lastly, the agriculturist urged the government to prioritize the security of lives and property by implementing development and peace-building policies in conflict-affected areas.

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Kano: MURIC demands end to govs’ power to dethrone monarchs

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The Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has demanded for an end to the power of state governors to depose monarchs, citing the need to protect the sanctity of traditional institutions and prevent political interference.

The demand followed the recent dethronement of five emirs in Kano State and the reinstatement of Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who was deposed in 2020.

The move has sparked a political crisis in the state, with many calling for a review of the laws that empower governors to depose traditional rulers at will.

MURIC’s Executive Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, said the organization had been advocating for the repeal of these laws for years, citing the need to protect traditional rulers from political machinations.

“The city of Kano is currently embroiled in crisis as the state governor, Abba Yusuf, deposed five emirs and reinstated Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who was dethroned as emir of Kano on Monday, 9th March 2020.

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“MURIC is shocked by these developments. It is not only embarrassing but confusing and that is to say the least as we struggle to restrain ourselves from going into any explosive outburst.

“Politicians are out to debilitate, destabilize and finally dismantle the traditional system. The governors have bastardised the traditional system the same way they messed up the local government system all over the country.

“The show of power in Kano in the last 48 hours are symptomatic of a serious decay and big threat to our nascent democracy. Traditional rulers are made victims of political intrigues and the fear of the total collapse of traditional values hangs above our heads like the sword of Damocles.

“It is an open secret that governors act with politics at the back of their minds. We strongly condemn the way and manner two governors, past and present, have turned the revered stool of the ancient city of Kano into a tool for ping-pong game and our traditional rulers who should be respected by the governors are now being pushed hither and thither.

“The position of MURIC has always been that governors should no longer be allowed to dethrone traditional rulers and we have ventilated this campaign on several occasions.

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“The naked dance in the market place currently going on in Kano has made it more imperative for Nigerians to rise against the excesses of governors. It is time we demand from our lawmakers to immunise traditional rulers from disgraceful, untimely, unnecessary and politically motivated dethronements.

“That will not necessarily make the traditional rulers all powerful. Traditional rulers who misbehave can still be sanctioned by the kingmakers. He can be suspended or dethroned but it will be by his own people. The kingmakers are enough for the king as checks and balances.

“MURIC appeals to all stakeholders in the Kano imbroglio to tread softly. They should desist from making inflammable statements.

“All sides in the saga have gone to the extreme. The deposition of Emir Sanusi in 2020 allegedly for insurbordination was an extreme measure.

“But ordering the arrest of Emir Ado Bayero after his removal is high-handed particularly without stating his crime. Revenge is a wild dish and the path of moderation is the path of decency.

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“While we call on Kano citizens to remain calm, we appeal to the security agencies to avoid confrontation. Kano must not burn,” he said.

CREDIT: DAILY POST

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Two of Tinubu’s key policies necessary but wrongly implemented – Obasanjo

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Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has said two out of three of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration’s policies were necessary but wrongly implemented.

Obasanjo made this remark at a Colloquium themed ‘Nigeria’s Development: Navigating the Way Out of the Current Economic Crisis and Insecurity’, at the Paul Aje Colloquium (PAC) in Abuja, during the weekend.

He hinted that the third decision was the position in dealing with the coup in Niger.

“Today, government has taken three decisions, two of which are necessary but wrongly implemented and have led to impoverisation of the economy and of Nigerians. These are removal of subsidy, closing the gap between black market and official rates of exchange and the third is dealing with military coup in Niger Republic.

“The way forward is production and productivity which belief and trust in government leadership will engender. No short cut to economic progress but hard work and sweat.

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“Economy does not obey orders, not even military orders. I know that. If we get it right, in two years, we will begin to see the light beyond the tunnel. It requires a change of characteristics, attributes and attitude by the leadership at all levels to gain the confidence and trust of investors who have alternatives.

“Total Energy has gone to invest 6 billion dollars in Angola instead of Nigeria. If the truth must be stated, the present Administration has not found the right way to handle the economy to engender confidence and trust for investors to start trooping in.

“They know us more than we know ourselves. And now they are laughing at us, not taking us seriously. We have to present ourselves in such a way that we will be taken seriously. If the existing investors are disinvesting and going out of our country, how do we persuade new investors to rush in. We can be serious if we choose to be but we need to change from transactional leadership in government to transformational and genuine servant leadership,” he said.

The former President asserted that to get out of the current situation in the country, the government and the governed needed to look at the past and the present, and ask ‘How did we get here?’

“Looking at the topic of today’s occasion, the question I would ask is, ‘How do we navigate our way out of these crises and pave the path towards a more secure and prosperous Nigeria? I believe the answer to this requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses the root causes of these challenges. The central questions are: Where were we? And how did we get to where we are today.

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“Firstly, we must know where we are coming from. Our economy has consistently suffered from poor policies, lack of long-term sustainable policies, discontinuity, adhocry and corruption firmed on personal greed, avarice, incompetence, lack of knowledge and understanding and lack of patriotism.

“For instance, the statement and proposed actions given forty-five years ago to stop fuel scarcity is the same statement and action being touted today. I recall when I made the statement that the refineries will not work, the sycophants and spin doctors of this current administration went out to castigate me as not being a petroleum engineer and that I did not know what I was talking about.

“They forgot that the attempt that was made in 2007 to partly privatise the refineries was made by me after a thorough study of the situation. But the decision was reversed by my successor and the 750 million dollars paid was refunded.”

Suggesting a way out, the former President Nigerian needs “a 25-year socio-economic development agenda” that will be generally agreed to, and passed into law.

CREDIT: DAILY POST

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FG sues 36 Governors, seeks full autonomy for LGs

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The Federal Government has filed a lawsuit against the Governors of the 36 States of the Federation at the Supreme Court over alleged misconduct in the administration of Local Government Areas, LGAs.

In the suit marked: SC/CV/343/2024, which was filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, the government is demanding full autonomy for all LGAs in the country as the third tier of government.

It specifically urged the apex court to issue an order deterring state governors from embarking on unilateral, arbitrary and unlawful dissolution of democratically elected local government leadership.

It also seeks an order permitting the funds standing in the credits of local governments to be directly channelled to them from the Federation Account in line with the provisions of the Constitution as against the alleged unlawful joint accounts created by governors.

The FG equally prayed the Supreme Court for an order stopping governors from further constituting caretaker committees to run the affairs of local governments as against the Constitutionally recognized and guaranteed democratic system.

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It equally applied for an order of injunction restraining the governors, their agents and privies, from receiving, spending or tampering with funds released from the Federation Account for the benefits of local governments when no democratically elected local government system is put in place in the states.

Governors of the 36 States were sued through their respective Attorneys General.

In the 27 grounds it listed in support of the suit, the Federal Government argued that Nigeria, as a federation, was a creation of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, with the President, as Head of the Federal Executive Arm, swearing on oath to uphold and give effect to provisions of the Constitution.

It told the apex court: “That the governors represent the component states of the Federation with Executive Governors who have also sworn to uphold the Constitution and to at all times, give effect to the Constitution and that the Constitution, being the supreme law, has binding force all over the Federation of Nigeria.

“That the Constitution of Nigeria recognizes federal, states and local governments as three tiers of government and that the three recognized tiers of government draw funds for their operation and functioning from the Federation Account created by the Constitution.”

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Consequently, the government asked the Supreme Court to invoke sections 1, 4, 5, 7 and 14 of the Constitution to declare that the State Governors and State Houses of Assembly are under obligation to ensure a democratic system at the third tier of government in Nigeria and to also invoke the same sections to hold that the governors cannot lawfully dissolve democratically elected local government councils.

It also prayed for the invocation of sections 1, 4, 5, 7 and 14 of the Constitution to declare that dissolution of democratically elected local government Councils by the Governors or anyone using the state powers derivable from laws enacted by the State Houses of Assembly or any Executive Order, is unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.

In a 13-paragraph affidavit that was deposed to by one Kelechi Ohaeri from the Federal Ministry of Justice, the AGF said he filed the suit under the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, on behalf of the FG.

The deponent averred that the local government system recognized by the Constitution is a democratically elected local government councils, adding that the amount due to local government Councils from the Federation Account is to be paid to local government system recognized by the constitution.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has fixed May 30 to hear the suit.

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CREDIT: DAILY POST

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