By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved immediate release of 40,000 metric tons of assorted grains from the Strategic Grains Reserve, to assist less-privileged Nigerians to celebrate the forthcoming Easter and Sallah festivities.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammed Mahmood, made the announcement when he briefed State House Correspondents after a closed-door meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
Mahmood, who said he was summoned by the president and directed to disburse the commodities to the affected people, expressed his optimism that the exercise would also cushion the effects of high prices of grains in the market.
According to him, 12,000 out of the 40,000 approved tons will be allocated to the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development by the ministry for distribution to internally-displaced persons across the country.
“I’m here this afternoon as a result of a summoning by Mr President.
“He directed and approved the release of grains from our Strategic Grains Reserve by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development,” the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes Mahmood as saying.
“This is to cushion the effect of some of the issues we are facing with high prices of commodities across the country.
“It is to make the grains affordable for people to celebrate the festivities — Ramadan, Easter and Sallah.
“We’ll also be giving some of the grains to the ministry of humanitarian affairs, to also do the distribution.
“The grains are coming from our Strategic Grains Reserve as directed by Mr President,’’ he said.
The minister revealed that the same process used during the COVID-19 lock down in 2020, to distribute 70,000 metric tons of assorted food items across some states and the Federal Capital Territory would be used in distributing the grains.
“If you remember very well, during the COVID pandemic, Mr President also directed and approved the release of grains. (NAN)