By Our Reporter
Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) has called on the National Assembly’s Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution to reinstate the clause on the ‘right to food’ which was reportedly deleted in the Constitution’s amendment Bill.
The group gave the advice in a statement signed by its Media Lead, Kome Odhomor and made available to journalists in Port Harcourt.
According to the statement, the Director of HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey, noted that the right to adequate food is a long standing fundamental human right, universally accepted for years and thus should not be cherry-picked by the legislators.
The amendment Bill which has been pending before the two chambers of the National Assembly seeks to introduce the words ‘right to food and ‘food security’ in two chapters: chapter two and chapter four with the aim to “address the failure of agricultural policies to ensure food security in Nigeria; given the philosophical context that there can be no food security without the right to food”.
Reportedly, the Senate and House of Representatives Committee who are currently reviewing the constitution rejected the clause on the ‘right to food’ based on the premise that passing the Bill with the clause on the ‘right to food’ as proposed could put more financial burden on the government.
The clause was also rejected on the ground that it “could be misinterpreted by citizens and might lead to damaging consequences.”
However, Bassey stressed that “to remove the clause from the Bill is to reinforce the lack of regard for the people and keep an open door for the purveyors of risky technologies such as genetic modification and gene editing in agriculture in the country”.
HOMEF Director stressed that the right to adequate and safe food is a fundamental human right and law makers should not legislate against this right in the constitution amendment process. “To do otherwise sends the signal that the lawmakers wish to set Nigerians on the pathway of starvation and neglect”.
Also, Marian Orovwuje, Coordinator, Food Sovereignty Programme at Friends of the Earth Nigeria/Africa, said a recognition of the right to food in the constitution will ensure accountability, transparency, better governance and policies to provide a thriving environment for optimum food productivity.
Orovwuje stressed that the right to food is anchored on human rights, adding that is recognized in many international treaties and conventions including the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR), others.
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