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Buhari presides over National Food Security Council meeting

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, presided over the meeting of the National Food Security Council.

The meeting was attended by six governors, Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and some ministers.

The National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd) and the Director General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, also attended the meeting.

According to reports, the meeting would deliberate on recent hike in prices of foodstuff in the country.

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President Buhari had, on September 2, though a statement by his media aide,  Malam Garba Shehu, expressed the concern of his administration about the sudden spiral of food prices.

He had assured Nigerians that the situation is transient, saying his administration has already begun looking and putting in place measures to ameliorate the situation.

“While Providence has been kind to us with the rains and as such an expectation that a bumper harvest would lead to crashing of food prices and ease the burdens on the population, government’s concern is that the exploitative market behaviour by actors has significantly increased among traders in the past few years and may make any such relief a short lived one.

“This year has indeed tested us in ways that globalization has never been tested since the turn of the century.

“These challenges have disrupted lives and supply chains all over the world, and Nigeria has not been spared.’’

President Buhari also frowned at the activities of those he described as “corrupt middlemen’’ whom he said had further compounded the situation.

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“But of all these problems, the most worrisome are the activities of “corrupt” middlemen (with many of them discovered to be foreigners) and other food traders who serve as the link between farmers and consumers found to be systematically creating an artificial scarcity so that they can sell at higher prices.

“In dealing with these problems, the administration has, in line with its ease of doing business mantra, avoided imposing stockholding restrictions, in order not to discourage investments in modern warehousing and cold storage.’’