Some elders under the auspices of the Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development (CNEPD), have attributed the sharp food inflation to the state of insecurity in the region, especially.
This was as the Northern elders reacted to the report of abduction along the Abuja – Kaduna highway, saying the latest incident was a sad reminder of the worsening state of insecurity across the region.
They claimed that the security situation in the North has reached a level where incidents of deaths, kidnapping, armed banditry and other violent crimes against the people, occur on daily basis, with many of such not reported.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its latest report, had indicated that food inflation hit 17.38 per cent in October, from 16.66 per cent in September, even as it put the current inflation rate at an astronomical 14 per cent.
In a statement, Wednesday, the elders drew a nexus between insecurity and the current food inflation.
The group, therefore, reiterated its call for the rejigging and restructuring of the nation’s security architecture, for better performance.
While commending the efforts of the Service Chiefs in dealing with the security challenges, the elders submitted that the situation may have proven overwhelming, especially with the accompanying complexities.
They further argued that the current crop of Service Chiefs, who were appointed sometime in July, 2015, are deploying ideas that do not suit current realities.
They have, therefore, pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari, to reconsider his adamance, and replace the military high command with new officers that are expected to deploy fresh ideas and perspectives into the fight against crime and criminality in the country.
“The latest killings and abduction along Kaduna-Abuja highway which occurred last Sunday, thus making major headlines in the national dailies did not come to us as a surprise. This is because we are faced daily with this situation,especially in the North East and North West zones of the country,” the elders said.
The statement reads: “We wish to state here that the Sunday incident, which caught attention in high places, was just little of what we witness daily in other parts of the region. There are many killings and cases of abduction going on in the North, especially the above-mentioned zones that are unreported.
“The victims are sometimes killed or placed on permanent hard labour just as the female ones are forcefully raped and impregnated by their abductors.
“Most victims are captured in their farmlands while carrying out their routine and legitimate duties of farming, in order to provide for their families.
“Again, the latest increase in the prices of commodities,especially food items in Nigerian markets, did not come to us as a surprise, in view of the link between insecurity and food scarcity.
“The helpless situation, which our people have found themselves in, has made them to abandon their farming activities, thus resulting in the current food insecurity in the country.
“The revelation by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday that the country’s inflation rate has jumped to 14.23 per cent (year-on-year) in October, showing a percentage point increase of 0.52,did not come to us as a surprise.
“We recall with regret that the current inflation rate of the country had risen to this level above 13.71 in September.”
It continues: “The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a computation which measures the average prices of goods and services consumed by people over time, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), showed that the index also increased by 1.54 per cent month-on-month compared with 1.48 per cent rise recorded in September.
“The 14.23 per cent year-on-year rise in composite inflation is 0.23 percentage point above the upper band of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s prediction for the end of the year.
“Maintaining the recent trend, the food category led the index. It rose from 16.66 per cent year-on-year recorded in September to 17.38 per cent in October. The rise in food inflation shows that Nigerian households have continued to spend an increasing percentage of their incomes on food! This is not only regrettable but also unacceptable.
“We knew we were getting to this boiling point of our food insecurity, and had long alerted the appropriate authorities on possible ways of averting this, one of which has been our consistent call on the Federal Government, led by President Muhammad Buhari to restructure the security architecture of the country for better efficiency so that farmers can return to their farmlands.
“Once again, we call on President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgent national priority, sack the Military High Command and engage new and vibrant senior officers, who are not in short supply.
“We further submit that unless and until adequate security was provided for our people in the North, the current food crisis, which has pushed inflation rate to an astronomical height, will only get worse.”