EditorialTHEWILL EDITORIAL: Customs' Rice Bazaar as Nigeria's Latest 'Lucky Dip’

THEWILL EDITORIAL: Customs’ Rice Bazaar as Nigeria’s Latest ‘Lucky Dip’

GTBCO FOOD DRINL

February 25, (THEWILL) – Nigerians on Friday trooped out enmasse to the Nigerian Customs office in Yaba, Lagos to try their luck in the latest ”lucky dip” in town as they struggled, though with a N10,000 fee, to pick a bag of 25kg rice as the biting hunger in the country gets more real.

Breaking the borders and barriers of ethnicity and tribal sentiments that are sadly creating a big bridge among Nigerians, the Customs ”rice bazaar” is an indication that Nigerians are really hungry as both bloody civilians and even uniformed men struggled to have a pice of the action.

A very sad development it is, in a country that has almost everything in abundance, natural and human resources, for the citizens to be queuing up in the hot sun, in some instances being whipped into line, just for a small bag of rice as if they were in a refugee camp. Things were not even as bad as we have now during the COVID-19 years when frustrated Nigerians had to break into government warehouses for palliatives that were being hoarded.

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Definitely, the Federal Government can no longer pretend that all is well in the polity or that the real pains and hardships most Nigerians are going through now are mere propaganda being orchestrated by the opposition. The opposition as we all know, would not be so mischievous and callous to the extent of creating food scarcity for the commodities that are not really there and available in the first instance.

Except in a few cases and in just a few states, the so-called palliatives promised by the government to mitigate the suffering of the people have become mere political rhetorics and propaganda to deceive rather than help out hungry Nigerians. Our selfish leaders and political office holders would rather choose to settle themselves first with billions of Naira on expensive and imported luxury vehicles and mouth-watering monetary bonuses rather than face the real problems on ground.

The ordinary and vulnerable Nigerians are given the crumbs from the table of the privileged in the guise of palliatives that never get delivered to those they are meant for just as another bazaar and ”give-aways’ have started across the states while the federal government is just about starting its own cash transfer to the so-called vulnerable Nigerians with the same discredited national register that was used to defraud Nigerians by officials of the immediate past administration.

Instead of encouraging national productivity and creation of genuine wealth through good policies that would make manufacturing industries thrive, the government continues to encourage idleness and creating dependants on government continued largesse that is turning most people into beggars as manufacturers continue to wind down operations as result of hike in tariffs on imported raw materials.

A visit to the nation’s seaports will reveal large cargo and consignments being abandoned by importers who could not afford to clear their goods as a result of high and prohibitive tariffs. The impact of the desertion at the ports would soon be felt in the country when current supplies run out in a couple of months. Yet the Nigeria Customs Service keeps making money for the Federal Government to share with itchy-fingered officials continue to loot while the masses suffer the brunt.

All the promises made over three months ago are still on papers as hunger bites harder in the land. Security challenges have made farmers to abandon their farms as killer herdsmen continue to wreak havocs in hitherto food baskets across the country just as hoarders, in a few instances, are cashing out big time on the misfortunes of the majority.

Unfortunately, the food scarcity would not go if the government does not intensify efforts to face the real cause squarely and immediately too. A hungry man, they say, is an angry man and Nigerians should not be surprised when the real protests start as there is definitely a limit to human resilience. Why should bandits continue to wreak untold havocs in our our farmlands and the few food items we can muster together are being smuggled out to their countries of origin? Double calamity and great insult to our collective psyche, no doubt!

We therefore call on the authorities to rise to the occasion and save Nigerians from becoming refugees in their homes, begging for food, in a land so rich in agricultural resources as the current suffering is already getting out of hand. A stitch in time, as they say, saves nine.

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