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Hunger may compound security problem, Katsina gov warns

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Governor Dikko Radda of Katsina State on Friday summoned an expanded emergency meeting of the State Security Council where he disclosed that he was among those being targeted for attacks by bandits.

The governor made the revelation in his remarks shortly before the meeting went into a closed door.

In attendance at the meeting were the governor and some members of the State Executive Council, including the state Commissioner for Justice, Farida Dikko.

Others in attendance were the Emirs of Katsina, Dr Abdulmumin Usman; and that of Daura, Alhaji Umar Faruq, as well as heads of various security agencies in the state.

The governor said the meeting was summoned to discuss current hardship being faced by Nigerians due to skyrocketing prices of foodstuffs and the activities of some traders, who had chosen to be exporting Nigeria foodstuffs to other parts of Africa, including Niger, Chad and Libya due to the weak Naira.

The meeting which started at 10.45am was still in session as of time this report was being filed.

The governor said, “This emergency meeting is called to, among others, discuss the current situation of food prices, which is threatening the existence of the country.

“It’s necessary for us to get all the stakeholders involved so that we can share our options. We can’t take action as a government without consulting stakeholders.

“The prices of foodstuff are on the increase, which makes it difficult for the poor to purchase, and if care is not taken, hunger will enter into people, which will in effect bring about crisis and insecurity in the country.

“We can see that protests occurred in Niger and Kano states foodstuff, and we must take measures to avoid it here in Katsina.

“I was briefed on factors responsible for the problem. Traders are exporting the food commodity to neighbouring Niger, Mali and some parts of Libya because their currency is more valuable than ours. They use small amounts and buy heavy foodstuff for their country.

“We have a report that trailers are being loaded every day with foodstuffs by traders and leave it until it goes high before they start to sell. We are still in harvesting season, but a bag of maize is being sold at about N60,000 with minimum wage standing at N30,000.

“Imagine how many measures of maize a family man with 10 children can buy in a day not to mention other expenses. If no action is taken, the poor will have no option but to start seizing foodstuffs from anyone found with it. We have to think twice.

“Besides this, bandits have come up with a new strategy because most of their informants supplying them with intelligence are nowhere to be found. Instead, they come on rampage and abduct the poor people, who have no guarantee of three-square meals, to sabotage our efforts. They mobilise their colleagues from other states.

“Going by the security reports, I am part of their target, but this has not bothered me and will not deter us from our efforts of restoring people because God will protect us. These problems will finish us if we don’t take them seriously. We encourage people to organise themselves and defend themselves against the bandits.”

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