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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.

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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PHOTO: Gov Makinde Host Nigeria Police Games

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1: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) and Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

2: From left, Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Barr Bayo Lawal; Governor Seyi Makinde; Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun and his wife Elizabeth, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

3: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) take a salute from the Police Mascots, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

CREDIT: Oyo Gov Media 

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Economic crisis: Find more ways to improve your IGR – President Tinubu to universities

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The Nigerian government has called upon universities in the country to broaden their sources of funding amidst economic challenges. President Bola Ahmad Tinubu made this assertion during the 6th & 7th combined convocation ceremony of Federal University, Dutse, which took place on Saturday.

Speaking through Professor Kabir Bala, the Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who represented him at the event, President Tinubu stressed the government’s dedication to facilitating a conducive environment for universities despite resource limitations.

He urged universities to actively explore alternative funding channels, underlining the significance of self-reliance in the prevailing economic circumstances. The President also encouraged universities to seek international funding opportunities for research, advocating for collaborations and the attraction of funds from global sources.

President Tinubu emphasized that government alone cannot shoulder the financial burden of universities, particularly amid economic challenges and competing demands from various sectors. Nonetheless, he reiterated the administration’s commitment to providing the necessary support within the available resources to ensure universities function as pillars of educational advancement and national development.

He further urged universities to pursue innovative strategies for generating revenue and to tap into international research funding opportunities. He assured that his administration remains dedicated to supporting universities in achieving their objectives as outlined in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

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Contempt threat against NLC, TUC leaders over public protest uncalled for – Femi Falana replies FG

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Human rights advocate and constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana, has clarified that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have every right to organize the nationwide public protest scheduled for February 27 and 28, asserting that it does not constitute contempt of court.

As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Falana emphasized that Nigerian workers are entitled to freedom of assembly and expression as enshrined in the country’s Constitution. He urged the federal government, in a strongly worded letter to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, to ensure maximum security for the workers and to participate in the protest.

In response to the AGF’s threat of contempt charges against the NLC and TUC leaders, Falana’s letter dated February 24 countered the threat, arguing that it lacked legal basis.

Falana pointed out the history of negotiations between the government and the labor unions following the removal of fuel subsidy in 2023, which resulted in court orders restraining the unions from striking. Despite compliance with these orders, the unions challenged them, and the contempt proceedings initiated by the government were subsequently withdrawn.

He highlighted subsequent legal actions initiated by the government against the unions, noting that these actions were contested by the unions on grounds of abuse of court process and lack of jurisdiction. Falana emphasized that since the contempt proceedings were withdrawn, there is no basis for the government’s threat of contempt charges regarding the planned protest.

He cited legal precedents affirming citizens’ rights to protest on matters of public interest without the need for police permits, emphasizing the democratic importance of freedom of speech and assembly.

Falana urged the government to respect these fundamental rights and directed the Inspector-General of Police to provide adequate security for the protesters in accordance with the Police Establishment Act.

In conclusion, he called on the government to reconsider its stance and assured that the protests would be conducted peacefully.

The federal government had previously warned of invoking relevant laws to charge the NLC leadership with contempt if the protest proceeds, citing it as a breach of agreement and a challenge to the court’s authority. The AGF, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, conveyed this warning in a letter to Falana, urging the NLC to abandon the protest to avoid violating the court’s order.

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