By Salisu Sani-Idris, Abuja.
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has started the distribution of over 360 metric tonnes of assorted food items to vulnerable and indigent groups in the nation’s capital.
The Minister of State for FCT, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, inaugurated the distribution of the food items at the FCT Sports Complex, Garki, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Aliyu said that the exercise was part of strategies adopted by the Federal Government to cushion the effects of the growing global economic recession, which had affected the capacity of the average Nigerian to procure food.
The minister said that the food items for distribution included 4,918 50-kilogram bags of maize, 2,800 50-kilogram bags of guinea corn and 2,400 25-kilogram bags of garri.
Aliyu said that President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive for the release of food items from the National Strategic Food Reserve, for urgent distribution to the vulnerable and indigent groups in the society.
She said that the move aptly underscored the commitment of the Buhari-administration to promoting social equity and improving the lot of all Nigerians.
She assured that all the food items would be judiciously distributed among the vulnerable groups in the six area councils of the FCT at no cost.
Aliyu also assured the residents of the FCT of the commitment of FCTA towards repositioning the agricultural sector.
She said that the administration would continue to give impetus to various agricultural support programmes.
“We are equally very hopeful that the FCT Livestock Development Plan, which is being put in place, will help to revitalise the sector towards improving food and nutrition security.
“It will also enhance revenue inflow for all stakeholders in the livestock sub-sector and boost the economy of Nigeria,” she added.
Earlier, the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola, said that the Federal Government was aware that the indigent groups and the middle class constituted a significant percentage of the country’s population.
“They are amongst the category of persons that have been adversely affected by the harsh global economic recession and conflicts, as well as climate change,” he said.
Olusade revealed that a report obtained from the World Food Programme (WFP) indicated that over 828 million people went to bed hungry every night.
He said that the number of people affected with acute food insecurity had soared from 135 million to 345 million since 2019, while a total of 50 million people in 45 countries are teetering on the edge of famine.
He, therefore, commended the Federal Government for promoting the wellbeing of Nigerians, by directing the emergency release of assorted food items from the National Strategic Food Reserve for distribution to vulnerable groups in the society.
Also, Malam Abubakar Ibrahim, the Mandate Secretary, Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, FCTA, said that the secretariat was collaborating with the area councils on the food distribution.
He said that the secretariat also partnered with the 17 chiefdoms in the FCT to identify families and groups that would be given priority in the distribution of the items.
According to him, this is to ensure that the programme is able to achieve the desired objectives.
“We have equally made adequate arrangements to move the items closer to the reach of targeted beneficiaries in the various area councils,” he added.