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Senate in Urgent Debate Over Hunger Crisis, Fears Unrest and Seeks Solutions

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On Tuesday, the Nigerian Senate held an urgent debate concerning the widespread hunger and hardship affecting citizens nationwide, expressing fears of potential unrest from distressed and angry Nigerians.

The debate was prompted by a motion titled “Urgent Need to Address Food Insecurity and Market Exploitation of Consumables in Nigeria,” sponsored by Senator Sunday Karimi Steve of Kogi West and co-sponsored by Senator Ali Ndume Mohammed of Borno South.

Senator Karimi highlighted the alarming rise in food and consumable prices, attributing it to high costs, inflation, and the depreciating currency, which has exacerbated living conditions. Citing data from the Bureau of Statistics, he noted that food inflation in Nigeria surged to 40.66% year-on-year, up from 24.82% in May 2023.

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Karimi pointed out that the prices of essential food items such as beans, maize, rice, yam, tomatoes, and onions, which had initially increased by about 40% following the removal of the petroleum subsidy, have now soared by over 100% to 300% without any clear reason. He criticized the pervasive get-rich-quick mentality, which he said has led to exploitative practices among traders and justified by the unchecked appropriation of public funds by some political and corporate elites.

Senator Ndume, co-sponsor of the motion, emphasized the need for the Senate to thoroughly address the issue, warning that Nigeria is at risk of a food crisis, as indicated by a report from Action Against Hunger World Food Program. He revealed that over 32 million Nigerians could face critical hunger between June and August.

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Former Senate President Ahmed Lawan commended the motion and warned that the patience of Nigerians is wearing thin, citing his recent visits to northern states where he witnessed severe hunger and hardship firsthand. He called for immediate action to prevent a nationwide crisis, including measures to ensure food availability and affordability.

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Senate President Godswill Akpabio attributed the current food scarcity to prolonged insecurity, including herders’ attacks on farmers in the North Central, banditry in the North West, and Boko Haram insurgency in the North East. He stressed the need for the government to urgently address these issues to avert an impending food shortage crisis in Nigeria.

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Okereke Gabriel is a sports reporter and analyst with years of experience in the industry. He is a graduate of Anatomy. He likes surfing the Internet, researching for new things about sports and education.

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