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Introduce Food Stamps prog to tackle hunger, Senate urges FG



Concerned about the rising cries for hunger by Nigerians, the Senate has urged the federal government to introduce food stamps programme as an interim measure to cushion the effects of food insecurity in the country.

This was even as the Red Chamber also called on the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to liaise with development partners and other relevant stakeholders, especially the Lagos Food Bank Initiative, which introduced Temporary Food Assistance Programme, TEFAP, few years ago.

It maintained that the introduction of the programe has become necessary “with a view to working out practicable templates and implementable modalities for the actualisation of the programme.”

These resolutions followed a motion sponsored by the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Ali Ndume (APC Borno South) and co-sponsored by Senator Saliu Mustapha (APC Kwara Central) as well as majority of others during plenary.

Food stamps is a supplemental nutrition assistance programme which will be a supplemental nutrition assistance programme that provides food-purchasing assistance for low- and no-income people to help them maintain adequate nutrition and health.

Presenting the motion, Senator
Ndume, said at the unveiling of the October 2023 Cadre Harmonisé Analysis on food insecurity, it was projected that in 2024, Nigeria is expected to see about 26.5 million people, grappling with high level of food insecurity.

According to him, “the reason for the above projection is not far-fetched, as several indicators, which include but not limited to the ongoing conflicts across the country, climate change impacts, escalating inflation as witnessed in recent time, and rising costs of both food and essential non-food commodities, due to fall in value of Naira in exchange market.”

He was worried that many hungry and angry Nigerians have been expressing their frustration and anger over the recent increase in food prices by demonstrating on the streets in several cities across the country.

Senator Ndume pointed out that “in other countries, like the United States of America, Food Stamp which is a government-issued coupon that is given to low-income and non-income persons and is redeemable for food have been used since 1933 to date as a measure to cushion the resultant hardships and sufferings on the poor/less privileged as well as low-income earners.”

He added that the clamour for wage increase and work support cannot alone guarantee a more effective way of addressing food insecurity without the introduction of time-tested public assistance programme, as contemplated by this motion with particular emphasis on the need for immediate food support across the country.

Contributing, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Abba Moro (PDP Benue South) said there is no better time for the motion than now adding that identifying vulnerable people in his constituency has always been a problem but that the food stamps will help.

On his part, Senator Sadiq Umar (APC Kwara North), said the executive should ensure that only those who need the food get it insisting the programme needs to start immediately.

“Structures are grown to help in the distribution of the food stamps,” he said.

Also , Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Ogun West), said despite sharing money to the vulnerable, added that the food stamps will be even more important.

Another lawmaker, Senator Sani Musa (APC Niger East) said it is an important motion as it would help the country achieve food security.

In his remarks, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Jibrin Barau, who provided over plenary, also agreed that the programme, if implemented, would help assuage the sufferings of Nigerians.

He said: “The Senate is open in acting on issues that will help all Nigerians. So, the entire Senate commends Ndume for this motion.”

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