President Muhammadu Buhari’s Federal Government has blamed the recent EndSARS protests for the high cost of food in the country in recent months, Page 36 learnt on Friday.
The Federal Government said that the street protests against police brutality in many parts of the country, “stalled food transportation and delivery”.
Its position was made known in a Press statement signed by Laolu Akande, the Spokesperson to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The government stated that other factors responsible for the food prices increase include delay in going out to the farm, which translates to delay in harvesting, courtesy of the Covid-19 pandemic and banditry in the North-West, effectively preventing farmers from harvesting fields cultivated.
It also blamed the herders/farmers conflict that has seen farm produce destroyed. It also blamed the increased cost of transportation.
Food prices have skyrocketed in recent months, with major food items costing significantly higher than previous months.
A 50kg bag of rice that used to sell for N26,000 now sells for as high as N32,000. A bag of onions that was N20,000 in January, has increased to N80,000. A big bag of garri also sells up to N24,000, higher than before.
The government said that the EndSARS protesters “in some instances, destroyed food stores”.
Before the protests, there had been a steady rise in the prices of food commodities in the country, the monthly Consumers Price Index, CPI, released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, showed.
In July, the food inflation figure released by the NBS was 15.48 percent, but later increased to 16.0 percent in August. In September, the figure increased to 16.66 percent, showing a steady rise in food prices in the country.
Food and other sectors of the economy have been badly hit this year by the Covid-19 pandemic.
As Nigerians groan under biting economic problems, the government has recently increased the prices of fuel and electricity.
In its resolution, the government urged States and the Federal Government to adopt urgent measures, including social protection schemes, to deal with the situation.