ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Pan-Ijaw group, the Ijaw National Congress (INC), has knocked President Muhammadu Buhari on his “not impressive” excuse about the cause of the skyrocketing prices of food items in the country.
In a statement on Saturday, the National President, INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, said President Buhari’s excuse during his Independence Day broadcast was far-flung from what was on the ground based on the investigation the group had carried out on the prevailing food challenges.
Okaba said the same reason was advanced by now President Muhammadu Buhari when he first served as Head of State in 1983, wondering that the same excuse was being given almost 40 years after.
He said: “As a matter of fact, the active presence of and lack of a coordinated security strategy to erase the activities of terrorists who the media has helped rechristen ‘bandits’ or ‘herdsmen’ has driven local farmers in the nation’s food basket (the North Central) away from their farms.
“Clearly, middlemen have no role in the excerbating food prices as our economy is simply obeying the laws of supply and demand. Farmers are no longer going to their farms, therefore, the few products available are facing stiffer competitions thereby shooting up prices. We would suggest that Mr President’s economic team, rethink its current strategies to solve present realities.
“We understand the pressure on the Federal Government to talk tough and Mr President’s posturing as Commander-in-Chief. But beyond these rhetorics, government should work the talk by engaging in a multifaceted approach to tackling the current security issues.
“This is important as it has been clearly seen that the so-called bandits have an identifiable communication channel, through Sheikh Abubakar Gumi. Claims of fighting and winning the insurgency in most parts of the North is mere public relations stunts.”
Okaba urged the Federal Government to go beyond naming and/or dealing with sponsors or promoters of secessionist agitations in the country but to dismantle the hydra insurgency, which, from their own investigations is a religious idea that must not be allowed to fester in a secular state such as Nigeria.