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OPINION: The pain and hunger of Nigerians



It is said that, ‘One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.’ Hunger as we all know, is a problem of society that is also associated with anger, agony and pain.

Pain on the other hand, is an emotional feeling that comes through hurt and despair. It is also said that Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

This further explains, why most of the major crises in the history of humanity have been spun around the search for food and sustenance, then the expression of frustration around its lack, as explained through different statements.

If we take a dive into renowned world history, we would recall that amongst the reasons for the French Revolution was, because the ordinary people could not afford to buy what Nigerians call common bread. In 1789, a group of women in France marched on the Versailles, and the protest was quickly turned into a revolution which eventually toppled the monarchy.

In recent times, in 1981 there was the bread riots in Casablanca, Morocco, which in 1984, led to the Moroccan Hunger Uprising.

This simply shows that hunger is not an issue of charity. It is an issue of justice. Jacques Diouf explained that ‘A hungry man can’t see right or wrong. He just sees food’.

Hunger is a societal issue and comes with too much uncertainties because you can’t build peace on empty stomachs.

Evidently, the affairs of hunger is often a put-on-view of poor leadership, corruption, incompetence of institutions and failures in production of basic agricultural needs; crop failure or harvest possibilities, thereby leading to a food crisis which would further translate into a national crisis,

The implications of a rise in food prices goes beyond just economic lack but results to social and mental unrest.

READ ALSO:OPINION: The gut, salutations and the hunger protests

Usually, hunger illustrates anger. Nigeria is confronting all sorts of challenges which would envisage a national display of anger. It is unfortunate that this is happening in a country that once boasted of agricultural produce and land benefits as the cornerstone of its economy and development.

Currently, the country faces a “food and hunger crisis,” the same country with rubber plantations in the Mid-West, rice pyramids in the North and a beam of arable land.

There have been various protests in Niger State, Ogun State, Oyo State, Kano State, Rivers State, Sokoto State, parts of Kogi state and Lagos state with the status, commercial capital. The reports of the protests clearly outlines the people’s pain as it relates to hunger.

Previously, in July 2023, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had anticipated the food crisis that the country was going to face. He then declared a national emergency; food insecurity, set up a Committee on Food Emergency and moved the assignment to his office and that of the National Security Adviser, because indeed, hunger is a component of insecurity.

Food inflation skyrocketed. Farmers could not access their farms due to terror and insurgency.

Although, overwhelmed, the Emergency Committee on Food Insecurity told people that at the end of the deliberations, the Federal Government would provide 102,000 metric tonnes of grains – 42,000 from the National Grains Reserve and another 60,000 to be provided by big farmers. Adding that if this would not be enough, the Federal Government would import grains.

Obviously, this initiative wasn’t thought through as it failed from the first instance and I don’t think Nigerians can be patient anymore.

However, in response to this disappointment, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) announced a two-day warning strike. NLC was abandoned by the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

It is also pertinent to emphasize that by virtue of our constitutional provisions, a peaceful protest is legal, and whether the NLC succeeds or fails with its two-day warning strike, the key point is that there is pain and despair in the land over inflation, insecurity, the rising cost of living and hardship. Nigerians just want to survive.

Rt. Hon. Ike Ibe had earlier blamed the elites for destroying the country by causing all the current challenges. Many would agree with his position.

On the bright side, the Federal Government, in an attempt to show empathy and diligence, has now announced that it will implement the Steve Oronsaye Report. I hope it will be understood and implemented properly.

AUTHOR:Chinedum Anayo

Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.

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