Nigerian Political News Media
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By Abdul-Azeez Suleiman
The recent remarks made by the Chairman of the Northern Traditional Rulers’ Council, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar lll, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero and the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) regarding the pervasive hunger in Nigeria have raised concerns about a dangerous signal of a gathering storm in the North and other parts of the country. These remarks serve as danger signals, indicating that the region is not only angry but also agitated, potentially on the verge of eruption.
Soaring food prices, exacerbated by the removal of fuel subsidies and currency controls, have pushed many Nigerians to the brink of starvation. Desperate Nigerians, unable to afford basic meals, have taken to the streets in protest. Families are skipping meals, and women in northern Nigeria have resorted to digging up anthills in search of grain stored by insects, as depicted in videos circulating on social media. The situation is dire, with children bearing the brunt of the crisis as their parents struggle to feed them.
Nigeria’s inflation rate reached a three-decade high of over 28 percent in December, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. This inflationary pressure has further exacerbated the already dire situation, making it increasingly difficult for Nigerians to afford basic food items.
The World Bank’s warning of acute food shortages in seven states due to violence underscores the urgency of the situation.
The economic crisis can be attributed to the policies implemented by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration. The removal of fuel subsidies and currency controls has led to a tripling of petrol prices and a sharp increase in living costs as the naira continues to slide against the dollar. These measures, though intended to stabilize the economy, have had devastating consequences for the average Nigerian.
The crisis has been further compounded by violence in the northwest and northeast regions of Nigeria. Deadly raids and kidnappings by criminal gangs in the northwest, as well as the ongoing jihadist conflict in the northeast, have displaced farming communities and disrupted the production and distribution of food supplies. As a result, the availability of grains has significantly decreased, driving up prices even further.
Hoarding has also played a significant role in exacerbating the crisis. Wealthy individuals have entered the grain business, purchasing and stockpiling large quantities of food supplies in warehouses. This hoarding has contributed to the scarcity of essential food items, making them unaffordable for the majority of Nigerians.
The influential traditional emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero, has called on the president to take urgent action to prevent economic hardships, hunger, and starvation.
The Sultan, at a recent meeting in Kaduna, decried the deteriorating socio-economic conditions as well as the insecurity ravaging the country. He declared that with the current downturn of the economy, which has inflicted untold hardship on Nigerians, all is not okay with Nigeria, especially the north. He also said the nation is sitting on a keg of gunpowder with millions of Nigerians without jobs and food.
The Sultan’s remarks highlight the urgent need for action to address the dire situation in Nigeria. The protests that have erupted in various parts of the country, including Minna, Kano, and Ondo State, further emphasize the gravity of the situation. The people are no longer willing to suffer in silence; they are demanding change and a resolution to the hunger crisis.
The NEF, the most influential socio-political group in the North, has also raised valid concerns regarding the disabling level of hardship resulting from the government’s unreasonably harsh economic policies. The NEF’s warning of an imminent eruption should serve as a wake-up call for the government to address these issues promptly.
The NEF, as the single most strong socio-political group in the North, has been closely observing the economic policies implemented by the government. They have voiced their dissatisfaction with the unreasonably harsh economic measures, which have resulted in an alarming level of hardship for the people. The NEF’s concerns are not merely speculative; they are grounded in the lived experiences of the Northern population.
The forum was emphatic in its stand that the disabling level of hardship resulting from the government’s economic policies is unacceptable. The forum has witnessed firsthand the struggles faced by the people, particularly in terms of rising inflation, unemployment, and poverty. Families are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet, with basic necessities becoming unaffordable for many. This dire situation has led to a sense of frustration and despair among the populace.
It is crucial to recognize that the Sultan’s Bayero’s and NEF’s concerns are not driven by personal or political motives but by a genuine desire to protect the interests of the Northern population. As respected elders and leaders, they have a responsibility to advocate for the well-being of their communities.
The pervasive hunger in Nigeria is a ticking time bomb that cannot be ignored. The storms are gathering, and it is the responsibility of the government and the nation as a whole to take immediate action. Failure to do so will only lead to further suffering and unrest.
The danger signals emitted from Northern Nigeria should not be taken lightly. The anger and agitation in the North are indicative of a deep-rooted frustration resulting from years of neglect and marginalization. If left unaddressed, this discontent could lead to social unrest and further exacerbate the already fragile security situation in the region.
The Sultan of Sokoto and the Emir of Kano, as influential figures in the North, possess deep insights into the challenges faced by their people. Their remarks about the pervasive hunger in Nigeria reflect the growing frustration and discontent among the population. History has shown that when individuals are pushed to their limits, they often resort to desperate measures to voice their grievances.
The Nigerian government must take immediate action to address the escalating crisis. Raiding warehouses suspected of hoarding food supplies by authorities in Kano, bans on bulk purchases of grain from local markets, as implemented by Yobe and Niger states, are steps in the right direction. However, a comprehensive and coordinated effort is required to alleviate the suffering of the Nigerian people.

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