“Desperate politicians who lost 2023 election causing hunger, inflation”, Shettima

Shettima 1

Vice-President Kashim Shettima has accused politicians who lost in the 2023 general election of plotting to throw Nigeria into anarchy, sabotaging the country by smuggling food out to other countries to trigger food price hikes.

Mr Shettima, on Tuesday at a conference on Public Wealth Management in Abuja, claimed 45 trucks smuggling food out of the country were intercepted. 

“Just three nights ago, 45 trucks of maize were caught being transported to neighbouring countries,” Mr Shettima claimed. “Just in that Ilela axis, there are 32 illegal smuggling routes.”

He further claimed that due to the interception, the price of maize fell. 

“And the moment those foodstuffs were intercepted, the price of maize came down by N10,000. It came down from N60,000 to N50,000. So, there are forces that are hell-bent on undermining our nation, but this is the time for us to coalesce into a singular entity,” Mr Shettima explained. 

The vice-president emphasised that some political actors are hell-bent on plunging Nigeria into anarchy over their failure to grab power in the last election.

“Forces are hell-bent on plunging this country into a state of anarchy. Those who could not get to power through the ballot box, instead for them to wait till 2027, are so desperate,” Mr Shettima stressed. 

He added, “We have to make this country work. We have to move beyond politics. We are now in the face of governance. Sadly, some of our countrymen are still in the political mode. 

“They are the practitioners of violence, advocating that Nigeria should go the Lebanon way. But Nigeria is greater than any one of us here. Nigeria will weather the storm.” 

Mr Shettima did not mention the names of the politicians he accused of plunging the country into further economic chaos and sabotaging President Bola Tinubu’s government. 

However, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party’s Peter Obi, top contenders in the general election, have continued to castigate Mr Tinubu’s handling of the economy.

Though increment in prices of food predated Mr Tinubu’s government, his sudden fuel subsidy removal and floating of the naira have seen petrol price jump from N145 to N630, shooting food prices up as the naira continue its freefall against the dollar, trading for N1,825 against a dollar on Tuesday. 

A market survey by Peoples Gazette on February 7 showed that food prices have increased by over 100 per cent since Mr Tinubu assumed office last year. 

Spiking economic inflation, estimated to be around 29.9 by the National Bureau of Statistics, has driven food prices high astronomically in recent times, forcing Nigerians to hit the streets in protests in Oyo, Niger, Osun, Kano and Lagos, Mr Tinubu’s home state. 

Mr Tinubu, in response to public outcry on the rising cost of food driven by skyrocketing inflation in the country, had directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to release about 42,000 metric tonnes of grain, including maize, millet and garri.

He also charged National Security Adviser Nuhu Ribadu, the State Security Service and the police to go after food hoarders.

The International Monetary Fund, in a summary of its assessment of Nigeria’s economy, lauded Mr Tinubu’s government for structural reforms, scrapping fuel subsidies and floating the naira.

The IMF also said Mr Tinubu’s release of “cereals from the grain reserve, provided subsidised fertilizer to farmers,” amongst others, are measures “to ease the impact of rapidly rising inflation on living conditions.” 

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