President Goodluck Jonathan has directed that over 25,000 metric tons of assorted food be released from the strategic grains reserves of the Federal Government to the three states under emergency rule.
The gesture is aimed at ameliorating the sufferings of the people of Adamawa, Borno and Yola states who have been under state of emergency declared by the President in May.
Disclosing this to Journalists yesterday in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, the Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama said the directive was in response to an appeal made by him and the Minister of State for Agriculture, Tijani Bukar to the president over the suffering of the people of the three states.
Mr Ngama explained that the insecurity has caused untold hardship on the people with the restriction of movement which has reduced farming activities in the states hence the intervention of the federal government.
He disclosed that 25,000 metric tons of food is equivalent to 930 trailer loads of food stuff which is over half a million bags of maize, millet and guinea corn.
The minister further explained that due to the large quantity of food required, it will be released in batches.
A breakdown reveals that a total of 399 bags of 665 trailer loads will be released to the three states in the first batch.
Borno state which is the largest and worse hit by the activities of the insurgents, will take the lion share of 324 trailers, while Yobe will get 195 trailers and Adamawa 170.
According to the Minister, an additional sum of N250 million has been approved by the President for the purchase of rice, cooking oil and other accessories to be distributed in the states.
In Yobe state for instance, Mr Ngama explained that all the 178 wards will be given a trailer load of food while the remaining will be shared to civil servants, police and army personnel as well as other organizations in the state.
He advised the people to see the gesture as an act of God and not read political meanings into it.
“We are giving this food not because we are PDP but because of God. I am calling on all the people of my state to come and collect the food. It does not matter whether you are PDP or any other political party. Nobody will discriminate in the sharing of the food”, the minister announced.
He noted that to ensure a hitch-free distribution of the food, all security agencies with Aid groups will be involved in the process.
Expressing thanks to the President, Mr. Ngama said, “This is an unprecedented initiative by the president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. I have not heard in history where this amount of food was released to any part of Nigeria in the past.
“The people of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa will remain grateful to Mr. President for his kindness and gesture to ameliorate their sufferings”, he said.