Fight insecurity to boost food production in Nigeria - scholars tell Tinubu - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Fight insecurity to boost food production in Nigeria - scholars tell Tinubu

A call has gone to the President Bola Tinubu-led federal government to put an end to the menace of herders and kidnappers, who keep roaming farmlands and making farming impossible across the country.

The trio of Professor Afolabi Soyode of the University of Ibadan (rtd), Professor Jonathan Fabunmi, Obafemi Awolowo University, (rtd) and Professor Isaac Agbede, University of Lagos (rtd, emeritus), who made the call in an open letter written to President Tinubu, also warned that the rapidly declining value of the Naira portends grave danger to the nation's economy, said the situation of the country’s currency “makes it looks as if there is no government in office.”

In the open letter titled, "Time for Drastic action", the professors warned that no incentives to agriculture by President Tinubu will yield meaningful output if he fails to address the insecurity in the nation.

They, however, commended the move by the federal government to create state police, saying it will provide counterpoise to the armed bandits and herders as well as make efforts to increase agricultural output more realisable by the present administration.

The letter partly read, "we live in a perilous time. Drastic situations demand drastic measures. There is hunger and anger in the nation. There is grinding poverty. Prices of essential commodities are escalating by the day. The gap between the high cost of living and the incomes of workers is too large, a source of anguish desperation and a call to incitement".

"Hardship can be fairly endured when evenly distributed. It is not seen now to be evenly distributed. The value of the bogus cars of our federal legislators and many governors and their remuneration are far beyond the realm of justification at a time like this. The billions of naira voted to renovate the Houses of the President and that of the Vice President are certainly irritants. The rapidly declining value of the Naira makes it looks as if there is no government in office. The security situation is not particularly assuring". 

On the income of workers and pensioners, the erudite scholars said, the President should quickly accelerate decision on minimum wage and the general salary review. 

"If the 37-man committee cannot deliver within the next 30 days, disband them and find a better modality. Assure workers of a definite short-term period during which salary increase will be announced and executed.

The salary review should have an over-arching objective: keep Nigerian workers satisfied working in Nigeria. It should stop Japa. It should be competitive and comparable worldwide. The short-term cost may appear large, but will bring peace, development and stability to the economy".

While lamenting the 'junk' export of 
over-used, over-depreciated vehicles from the US to Nigeria and substandard products; including drugs and other items, they said the exportation drains the scarce foreign reserves. 

"While new cars from manufacturers have their sources uniquely identified, all, the used cars from very many countries are imported mostly by Nigerians, Individuals and firms, with intention to maximize their profits. They bring in least functional vehicles and sell at maximum prices.
Many struggling people including youths, hardly employed, now satisfy their craze in materialism and ostentation by spending hard-earned Nigerian forex on these. Through tax it should be appropriately discontinued".

Nigeria should be moving towards using cars and vehicles made in Nigeria. A shame that Nigerian Senators opted for costly bogus imported Land Cruisers. These and other vehicles of the same variety should be disallowed. No other irrational use of forex can be found".

"Medical Tourism is another irrational use of forex. Can the President not make an emergency case for a 5-star Specialist Hospital that can satisfy the political elites and other Nigerians. To be built, in each of the six zones, staffed, equipped, all within 18-24 months?"

On the state of Nigerian universities, they noted, "the decay in higher education system needs to be addressed quickly. First with the salary review. The academic staff have been on the same salary since 2009. A major review of salary and allowances should be done, most urgently, in line with the model we suggested earlier.

The Nigerian University system is dying; please revive it because if it dies, the source of nourishment of the secondary and primary education is gone. No nation flourishes or even survives without good education".

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