Senate Advocates Introduction of Food Stamps in Nigeria

February 28, 2024
Ali Ndume Senate President

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Senate has urged the federal government to introduce the Nigerian version of the “food stamps programme” as an interim intervention to cushion the effects of food shortages in the country.

This followed the adoption of a motion on the Introduction of Food Stamps in Nigeria as an Interim Measure to Address Imminent Food Insecurity in the country, by Mr Ali Ndume, the Senate Chief Whip at plenary on Tuesday.

Presenting the motion, Mr Ndume said that in other countries, like the United States, food stamps were government-issued coupons that had been in use since 1939.

“This is as a measure to cushion the resultant hardships and sufferings on the poor/less privileged as well as low-income earners,” he said.

He expressed concerns over the October Cadre Harmonisé Analysis on food insecurity which projected that in 2024, Nigeria was expected to see about 26.5 million people grappling with high levels of food insecurity.

The lawmaker said the reason for the above projection was not far-fetched as several indicators which included but were not limited to the ongoing conflicts across the country and climate change impacts.

Mr Ndume said that many hungry and angry Nigerians had been expressing their frustration and anger over the recent increase in food prices by demonstrating on the streets in several cities across the country.

He said that the clamour for a wage increase and work support could not alone guarantee a more effective way of addressing food insecurity without the introduction of a time-tested public assistance programme.

In his contribution, Mr Solomon Adeola called for the deployment of modern technology to curb abuses.

“The question is how do we achieve this for over 200 million population, a data must be in place to ensure that the real vulnerable Nigerians get it,” he said.

Nigeria is hindered by critical food supplies and this is threatening to push the country deeper into a devastating hunger crisis this year

The United Nations estimated that more than 25 million people in Nigeria could face food insecurity this year–a 47 per cent increase from the 17 million people who were already at risk of going hungry–mainly due to the ongoing insecurity, protracted conflicts, and the projected rise in food prices.

In addition, an estimated two million children under five across the northeastern Nigerian states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe are likely to be pushed into acute malnutrition in 2023, with about 700,000 children on the brink of death.

It is also likely that even more people will be pushed into hunger than earlier predicted due to extreme weather events that are getting more frequent and severe due to the climate crisis.

With a skyrocketing inflation rate, the country is exploring several options to bring respite to Nigerians.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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