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Senate urge President Tinubu to promptly introduce food stamps

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The National Assembly complex

By our reporter

The Senate has said that the introduction of food stamps in Nigeria as an interim measure to address imminent food insecurity in the country will be a way out of the hardship, urging the executive to act fast.

The Senate decision followed a motion sponsored by the Senate Chief Whip, Ali Ndume (Borno South) and Co-Sponsored by Sen. Saliu, Mustapha (Kwara Central) had several other Senators asking for their names to be added as Co-Sponsored.

Food stamps will be a supplemental nutrition assistance programme which will be a supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programme that provides food-purchasing assistance for low- and no-income people to help them maintain adequate nutrition and health.

Ndume, while reading his motion during plenary, said at the unveiling of the October 2023 Cadre Harmonisé Analysis on food insecurity, it was projected that in 2024, Nigeria is expected to see about 26.5 million people, grappling with high level of food insecurity.

“Further notes that the reason for the above projection is not far-fetched, as several indicators, which include but not limited to the ongoing conflicts across the country, climate change impacts, escalating inflation as witnessed in recent time, and rising costs of both food and essential non-food commodities, due to fall in value of Naira in exchange market;

“Worried that many hungry and angry Nigerians have been expressing their frustration and anger over the recent increase in food prices by demonstrating on the streets in several cities across the country.

“Aware that in other countries, like the United States of America, Food Stamp which is a government-issued coupon that is given to low-income and non-income persons and is redeemable for food have been used since 1933 to date as a measure to cushion the resultant hardships and sufferings on the poor/less privileged as well as low-income earners,” Ndume said arguing that the concerned that the clamour for wage increase and work support cannot alone guarantee a more effective way of addressing food insecurity without the introduction of time-tested public assistance programme, as contemplated by this motion with particular emphasis on the need for immediate food support across the country.

Accordingly, the Senate urged the Federal Government to introduce the Nigeria version of the Food Stamps programme as an interventionist measure to cushion the effects of food insecurity/shortage in the country.

The Senate also mandate the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to liaise with development partners and other relevant stakeholders, especially the Lagos Food Bank Initiative, which introduced Temporary Food Assistance Programme (TEFAP), a few years ago.

“This is with a view to working out practicable templates and implementable modalities for the actualisation of the programme,” the Senate said.

Speaking, the Senate Minority leader, Abba Moro (PDP Benue South) said there is no better time for the motion than now adding that identifying vulnerable people in his constituency has always been a problem but that the food stamps will help.

On his part, Sadiq Suleiman Umar (APC Kwara North) said the executive should ensure that only those who need the food get it insisting the programme needs to start immediately.

“Structures are grown to help in the distribution of the food stamps,” he said.

On his part, Solomon Adeola (APC Ogun West) while supporting Ndume motion, said despite sharing money to the vulnerable, added that the food stamps will be even more important.

Send Sani Musa (APC Niger East) said it is an important motion as it will help in food security.

He said he is planning for such a programme in his constituency, adding that having such nationally will help.

Deputy Senate President Jibrin Barau who provided over plenary, commended Ndume for the motion adding that it will help assuage the sufferings of Nigeria.

“The Senate is open in acting on issues that will help all Nigerians. So the entire Senate commends Ndume for this motion,” Barau said.

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