Food Crisis: Osun Youths Protest Rising Cost Of Living


BY OUR CORRESPONDENT – The train of citizens protesting the rising cost of living and urging the government to find urgent remedies to the situation landed in Osogbo, the Osun State capital on Friday as aggrieved youths stormed the streets to vent their anger over the deteriorating state of things in the country.

Amid the Federal Government’s claims that Nigeria has enough food to feed all citizens, the protesters, who gathered early along the popular MDS Road in Osogbo, to stage their peaceful protest despite the heavy presence of police operatives, were seen chanting solidarity songs to express the frustration of many Nigerians due to the current debilitating hardship nationwide.

Wielding placards with varying inscriptions such as “Nigerians are suffering;”‘We are humans, stop mistreating the citizens”; “Change the unfavourable policies”, and “We can’t cope again’, among others, the protesters demanded urgent intervention from the government to address the disturbing hike in the cost of living nationwide.

The Chairman of Osun Civil Societies Coalition, Mr Waheed Lawal, who addressed the protesters, said the action would continue until the Federal Government finds solutions to the current economic hardship ravaging the country.

According to him; “Government must ameliorate the suffering of the people. They must do whatever they need to do to make sure that the people live in better conditions. Nigerians deserve the best. They promised us renewed hope but what they are giving us now is renewed hardship.

“We reject renewed hardship in our lives, and in our economy because Nigerians deserve the best. What Nigerians want is a peaceful atmosphere. We don’t want insecurity in our land again. We can’t travel from Osogbo to Ibadan without panicking. You will be thinking that they will kidnap you.

“The abduction of monarchs is the order of the day in our country now. We urge the government to provide security for the lives and property of the citizens. It is their responsibility, it is a constitutional responsibility. Every government that fails to provide security for the lives of the citizens is no longer a government.”

Further demanding that the government must be empathetic to the plight of suffering Nigerians, Mr Lawal said; “What we are saying is simple, we are ready to face the government in this hardship and we are marathon runners. We have started this struggle today and if the government fails to listen to us, we will continue to mobilise our people to protest this hardship because enough is enough.”

The Osun protest is coming on the heels of the earlier ones that took place in Minna, the Niger State capital, and Kano where the youths and women took to the streets to protest what they described as the rising cost of living.

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu has ordered the immediate release of more than 102,000 metric tons of various grain types from the National Food Reserve and the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria as part of the temporary response to the nation’s growing food crisis and the rising cost of commodities across the country.

Addressing State House correspondents after the last leg of a series of three meetings of the Special Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention at the Aso Rock Villa on Thursday, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said; “The first one is that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has been directed to release about 42,000 metric tons of maize, millet, Garri, and other commodities in their strategic reserve so that these items will be made available to Nigerians; 42,000 metric tons immediately.

“The second one is that we have held meetings with the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria. Those who are responsible for producing this rice and we have asked them to open up their stores. They’ve told us that they can guarantee about 60,000 metric tons of rice.”

“This will be made available and we know that that is enough to take Nigerians the next one month to six weeks, perhaps up to two months”, the Minister assured.

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