Home News Tinubu, govs meet over food crisis as emirs, NBA lament hardship

Tinubu, govs meet over food crisis as emirs, NBA lament hardship

by Peter Friday
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Northern traditional rulers and the Nigerian Bar Association on Wednesday decried the hardship in the country precipitated by the fuel subsidy removal which had resulted in higher transport costs and food inflation.

The traditional rulers and the NBA asked the Federal Government to quickly address the situation just as President Bola Tinubu will on Thursday (today) hold a closed-door meeting with state governors at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, to proffer solutions to the economic crisis in the country.

Two Presidency officials, who confided in The PUNCH on Wednesday, stated that the meeting with the governors would be held before the President’s departure to Ethiopia for the African Union meeting.

Also, the Katsina State Governor,  Dikko Radda, and an aide to Governor Nasir Idris of Kebbi State confirmed the planned meeting with the President.

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The session is coming a few days after the governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party compared Nigeria’s economic situation to that of Venezuela, a South American country in the throes of hyperinflation, escalating starvation, disease, crime, and high mortality rates.

But the Presidency criticised the performance of the governors, pointing out their failure to pay salaries, pensions, and the N30,000 minimum wage.

Protests had broken out in different parts of the country in reaction to the high cost of living with citizens in Niger, Kano, Kogi, Ondo, and other states demanding solutions to the economic crisis.

The organised Labour had also complained about the situation in the country, threatening to go on strike by February 23 if the Federal Government failed to provide the palliatives and other assistance that could mitigate the economic pains on workers.

Northern monarchs

But echoing the dire economic situation again on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Northern Traditional Rulers Council and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar lll, decried the deteriorating socio-economic conditions and the insecurity ravaging the country.

Addressing his colleagues at the sixth executive committee meeting of the Northern Traditional Rulers’ Council with the theme: ‘Enhanced Security as a panacea for stability and development of the North,’ in  Kaduna on Wednesday, Abubakar declared that with the current downturn of the economy which had inflicted untold hardships on Nigerians, all was not well with Nigeria, especially the north.

He lamented that the twin monsters confronting the nation at the moment were poverty and insecurity, which if not tackled urgently, could spell doom for Nigeria.

But he was quick to exonerate President Tinubu while noting that the sorry state of the nation was the continuation of the last administration of the All Progressives Congress under ex-president Muhammadu Buhari.

“To me, this government is a continuation of the former government; it is the same party. So, what really is the problem? I think that is one of the reasons we are here to talk to ourselves,” Abubakar said.

The Sultan warned that Nigerians’ quietness in the face of these challenges must not be taken for granted.

The event also had in attendance the Tor Tiv, Prof. James Iyerste and other traditional rulers, prominent members of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Coalition of Northern Groups as well as the representatives of the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General of the Department of State Services, among others.

The Sultan, who is also the leader of Nigerian Muslims said there should be no pretence that all was well with the country as Nigerians were more than ever before agitated because “they are hungry and angry.”

According to him, as a way out, the millions of unemployed youths roaming the streets and sitting idle must be engaged and taken off the streets as a way of staving off the looming calamity.

Youths unemployment

“We must find jobs for our teeming youths that are sitting idle and I have said it so many times, we are sitting on a keg of gunpowder, having teeming youths millions of them, without jobs, without food; we are looking for trouble,” he warned.

On the insecurity and poverty in the North, the monarch said the traditional leaders being closest to the people had the onerous task of calming down frayed nerves, assuring the people that things would be okay.

Meanwhile,  the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to take immediate steps to cushion the effects of the economic hardship in the country.

CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, made the call in a message during Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of the Lenten Season.

The Lenten season is a Christian religious observance to commemorate the 40-day fast observed by Jesus, as told by the Biblical accounts of Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Okoh, in his message, noted the plight of citizens, while stating that leaders must prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable in society.

He also urged Christians to extend helping hands to those in need, while also supporting the leaders in alleviating the sufferings of fellow citizens.

Okoh stated, “As we embark on this Lenten journey, our hearts are drawn to the plight of many who struggle to make ends meet, facing financial uncertainty and limited access to basic needs. We long for a Nigeria where every individual is afforded the opportunity to thrive, and where our leaders prioritize the well-being of the most vulnerable in our society.

“I urge our leaders at all levels of governance to recognize the urgency of the economic challenges facing our nation and to take concrete action in providing support for individuals facing economic hardship. Let us come together in solidarity and commitment to create a more inclusive and compassionate society where the burdens of the marginalized are alleviated and their voices are heard.’’

In continuation of moves to address the economic and security challenges, Tinubu has scheduled a meeting with the 36 state governors.

Seeking support for policies of the APC administration, the National Chairman of the ruling party, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, charged Nigerians to look beyond attacks, which he said were orchestrated to distract the government.

Ganduje made the appeal when he received a delegation of North-Central leaders led by former Senate President, Senator Ameh Ebute, a former legislator from Benue State, Senator Jack Tilley-Gyado and Plateau State APC governorship candidate in the 2023 election, Nentawe Yilwatda, who came to the party secretariat on a solidarity visit.

Ameh holds the record for being the shortest-serving Senate President in Nigeria after he served less than 17 days in office before the National Assembly was dissolved by the late dictator, General Sani Abacha, in November 1993.

Ganduje disclosed that despite the attacks, the party would continue to support the President  “until he brings his Renewed Hope agenda to fruition.’’

He said, “These assaults on Mr President, these assaults on Nigerians, we believe we will soon be out of these problems. We have to thank him for his Renewed Hope Agenda, efforts and commitment. We assure him we are 100 per cent for him.

“I am so happy that you realise the importance of having a stable political party that is focused, ready to win elections any time anywhere. There is no doubt that there is an opposition.

But we believe with your cooperation, we will not continue to listen to undesirable elements who are not focused, who are not real party men and who want to see that we are in disarray.

“We have no place for that. We are people, politicians who are committed. We know we are forging ahead so we thank you for these resolutions. We thank you for this commitment.”

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