ABUJA – Kabir Ibrahim, National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), has once again warned that the unending insecurity in the country which would result in food crisis may threaten the stability of the country.
A statement on Wednesday by Ibrahim, appealed to the government, to as a matter of urgency, sit up and rejig the fight against Boko Haram insurgents and banditry to enable farmers to return to their farmlands.
He said, “While it is rather late in the day to start a blame game for the unending insecurity in Nigeria, it is prudent for the government to sit up and rejig the fight against the menace, otherwise there will be hunger in the land which is likely to destabilise the country as a whole.”
He noted that apart from COVID-19 and flood incidents that have affected food production, the nagging issue of insecurity has greatly impacted negatively on agricultural productivity.
“As Nigeria battles the COVID -19 pandemic and flash floods another more serious challenge to the food system is insecurity in the North East principally perpetrated by the Boko Haram insurgents as well as banditry and kidnappings in the North West of Nigeria by rag tag bandits sprouting from criminal elements among pastoralists.
“The insurgency in the North East has been going on unabated for roughly 11 years whereas the banditry in the North West is almost 5 years old.
“The most disheartening thing today is that these challenge the food system because the farmers cannot readily go to their farms to produce the food requirement of the regions.
“The issue is generating a lot of concern to AFAN these days because scores of farmers are being abducted from their farms for ransom and sometimes even killed.
“The recent slaying of farmers in the North Eastern State of Borno is very troubling and calls for decisive measures from the security agencies to stop this massacre.
“A few days ago we woke up to find out that about 43 of our members were slaughtered like rams on their farms.
“Due to this development it is now exceedingly difficult to get the farmers to readily go to their farms in several parts of the country.
“The farmers in an area such as the North West which is predominantly agrarian are completely devastated and cannot go to their farms located a few Kilometres from urban centres for fear of being kidnapped or killed.”
Ibrahim noted that the situation is so bad that the farmers are forced to pay ransom to the bandits to be able to harvest their produce.
He said the possibility of attaining food sufficiency in Nigeria from the foregoing is impossible as these regions have the vast arable land for food production.
“As in many African countries Nigeria’s Agriculture is mainly leveraging on the large Small Holder Farmer(SHF) population who are the group traumatised by the incessant killings and kidnappings.
“To avert the looming hunger threatening the Nation we appeal to the Government to provide more support and motivation to the Security forces to stem the tide of insecurity and to invest more in mechanisation and Science and Technology to upscale agricultural production.
“It is absolutely necessary to factor that it is now more important to protect the farmers, who produce the food needed for day to day living than embarking on even developmental projects.
“We are advising the government to ensure the security of all lives but more so the lives and livelihood of the farmers who are the engine room of food production,” he said.