COST OF FOOD RISES BY 61% IN ONE YEAR – NBS REPORT Cost of food has risen by 61 per cent from 25.25 per cent in June 2023 to 40.66 per cent in May 2024, highlighting a steady rise in the cost of living in Nigeria. This is according to an analysis of the latest Consumer Price Index and Inflation report released by the National Bureau of Statistics. The CPI measures the average change over time in the prices of goods and services consumed by people for day-to-day living. On Saturday, the NBS disclosed that headline inflation moved by 0.26 per cent to 33.95 per cent from 33.69 per cent recorded in April. The report noted that the inflation rate has climbed to a 28-year high since March 1996 on higher food and transport prices. It said, “In May 2024, the headline inflation rate increased to 33.95 per cent relative to the April 2024 headline inflation rate which was 33.69 per cent.” The statistics agency also reported major contributing items to headline inflation in May 2024 including food & non-alcoholic beverages (contributing 17.59 per cent), housing, water, and electricity, gas & other fuel (contributing 5.68 per cent), and clothing & footwear (contributing 2.60 per cent). A breakdown of the data showed that the price of food commodities increased steadily from 25.25 per cent in June, to 26.98 per cent in July, 29.34 per cent, 30.64 per cent in August, 31.52 per cent in September, 31.52 per cent October, 32.84 per cent in November and 33.93 per cent as the end of December 2023. The rate further increased to 35.41 per cent in January, 37.92 per cent in February, crossed the 40 per cent mark in March, 40.53 per cent in April and 40.66 per cent in May. NBS said the rate rose to 40.66 per cent in May, compared to the 24.82 per cent reported in the same month last year — indicating an increase of 15.84 per cent points. The bureau said semovita, oatflake, yam flour prepackage, garri, bean, etc (which are under bread and cereals class), Irish potatoes, yam, water yam, etc (under potatoes, yam and other tubers class), contributed to the year-on-year increase in the food inflation rate. Other contributors are palm oil, vegetable oil, etc (under oil and fat), stockfish, mudfish, crayfish, etc (under fish class), beef head, chicken-live, pork head, and bush meat (under meat class). “The food inflation rate in May 2024 was 40.66 per cent on a year-on-year basis, which was 15.84 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in May 2023 (24.82 per cent). “The average annual rate of Food inflation for the twelve months ending May 2024 over the previous twelve-month average was 34.06 per cent, which was 10.41 per cent points increase from the average annual rate of change recorded in May 2023 (23.65 per cent),” the report said. Similarly, Bauchi, Kogi, and Oyo are Nigeria’s three most expensive states on a year-on-year basis after recording the highest All-Items Inflation in May 2024. The report said in May 2024, the All-Items inflation rate on a Year-on-Year basis was highest in Bauchi 42.30 per cent, Kogi (39.38 per cent Oyo (37.73 per cent). On the flip side, Borno (25.97 per cent), Benue (27.74 per cent) and Delta (28.67 per cent) recorded the slowest rise in Headline inflation on a Year-on-Year basis. In recent years, food prices have been on the rise across Nigeria. The situation deteriorated due to the impact of government policies such as the removal of subsidies on petrol, among others. The upward trend in the prices of these staples and other products has weakened the purchasing power of many citizens, making it difficult for many households in the country…


OPEN LAND BORDERS, NIGERIANS TELL FG, LAMENT OVER HIGH COST OF FOOD Nigerians have called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, to quickly open the country’s land borders to enable food to come from neighbouring countries to save citizens from starvation. The inflation figures released Saturday again show that, the food price indices increased as well by 0.13 per cent to 40.66 per cent from 40.53 per cent. A recent survey in Lagos revealed a staggering 200 per cent increase in livestock prices over the past year, fueled by food inflation, subsidy removal, and other economic pressures. In Lagos’ bustling Agege abattoir, vendors and butchers paint a grim picture. Rams that once sold for N100,000 to N150,000 now command prices between N300,000 and N400,000, marking a sharp 150 per cent surge. Audu, a seasoned seller, gestures towards a medium-sized ram. “Last year, this would have gone for N100,000. Now, I can’t sell it for less than N300,000. It just doesn’t pay,” he tells Nairametrics. “Everything has gone up.” Ibrahim, a dealer in the pepper and tomato business, revealed that a basket of tomatoes in this season can go as high as N200,000 “Most people can’t afford these things anymore,” he admits. Last month, the same basket would have gone for N40,000 or even less. A bag of rice now sells between N79,000 and N90,000, depending on the type of rice one is purchasing. The same was observed when it comes to a paint bucket of garri which was sold for around N600 last year but is now selling between N3,800 and N4,200, with an increase of over 400 per cent. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that consumer prices increased by an annual 33.95 per cent, up from 33.7 per cent in April. “The planting season, coupled with insecurity threats resulted in supply chain disruption,” said Bismarck Rewane, managing director of Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Limited. This is as Muslim faithful lament the attendance effect of very high prices of food stuff on this year’s Sallah celebrations. Ismaila Bolaji, a Muslim faithful in Ipaja said, “It is difficult to begin to explain what we are facing. Ordinary tomatoes and pepper are no-go areas, how then can you think of ram?” He said the situation is so bad that those who used to host the less privileged ones, cannot afford to cook themselves, so many are wearing long faces. Analysts have attributed the shortage of food to major insecurity. According to them, governments, not only the present, have treated those destroying what is planted in farms and the unknown gunmen who collect money from Farmers before allowing them access to their farms with levity.“In fact the government has been pampering them, as though there is some hidden synergy between them. Now it is full blown, and the immediate way out is for the present government to open the borders, before planning what to do with agriculture”, said John Ogodo, a retired civil servant.


MSF REPORTS INFLUX OF SEVERELY MALNOURISHED CHILDREN IN SEVEN NORTHERN STATES Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, has said it is facing an overwhelming influx of severely malnourished children in seven northern states at its medical facilities. A statement issued by the MSF Field Communication Officer in Nigeria, Abdulkareem Yakubu, said the affected states are Kano, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi. The global humanitarian organisation indicated that the MSF in-patient facilities in Northern Nigeria have recently recorded an extraordinary increase in admissions of severely malnourished children with life-threatening complications, saying that it surpasses last year’s figures by over 100 percent in some locations. For the MSF teams, the statement stated that it is an alarming indication of a premature peak of the lean season and the increase in acute malnutrition that accompanies it, typically anticipated in July, stressing that they are resorting to treating patients on mattresses on the floor because their facilities are full and children are dying. According to MSF’s Country Representative in Nigeria, Simba Tirima, “If immediate action is not taken, more lives hang in the balance. Everyone needs to step in to save lives and allow the children of Northern Nigeria to grow free from malnutrition and its disastrous long-term, if not fatal, consequences.” MSF, then called for urgent humanitarian assistance, advising Nigerian authorities, international organisations, and donors to take immediate action to diagnose and treat malnourished children and engage in long-term initiatives to address the root causes of the crisis. MSF said that they have been warning about the worsening malnutrition crisis for the last two years, 2022 and 2023 were already critical, stressing that an even grimmer picture is unfolding in 2024. It explained that they can not keep repeating the catastrophic scenarios year after year, wondering what it will take to make everyone take notice and act. In April 2024, MSF reported that its medical team in Maiduguri, Borno State, admitted 1,250 severely malnourished children with complications to its in-patient therapeutic feeding centre, doubling the admissions of April 2023, pointing out that by the end of May, the centre was urgently scaled up to accommodate 350 patients, far exceeding the 200 beds initially designated for the peak malnutrition season in July and August. It further explained that the MSF-operated facility in Kafin Madaki Hospital, Bauchi State, recorded a 188 per cent increase in admissions of severely malnourished children during the first three months of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. In Zamfara State, it stated that in-patient centres in Shinkafi and Zurmi saw a 30 per cent increase in admissions in April compared to March, while Talata Mafara’s facility experienced a 20 per cent increase, saying that major cities like Kano and Sokoto also reported alarming surges, with increases of 75 and 100 per cent, respectively. It said, “The therapeutic feeding centre in Kebbi State documented a rise of over 20 per cent in admissions from March to April.” MSF stated that despite the dire situation, the overall humanitarian response remains inadequate, with other non-profit organisations active in the region are also overwhelmed. In May, the United Nations and Nigerian authorities issued an urgent appeal for $306.4 million to address the nutritional needs in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states, but this amount is deemed insufficient for the broader region.In December last year, MSF temporarily evacuated a number of its staff from some of its facilities in Zamfara State, a development that some residents say might lead to serious setbacks in the area of healthcare delivery, especially in rural areas.


NIGERIA JOINS LIST OF HUNGER HOTSPOTS ~ UN REPORT Data from the UN Humanitarian Aid shows that at least 18 crisis locations—which are already experiencing food insecurity—may experience a “acute food insecurity” if help is not delivered quickly. The report noted that since October 2023, Nigeria and some other countries have joined a host of others on the list of hunger hotspots where acute food insecurity is likely to deteriorate further in the coming months. Although many “hunger hotspots” are in Africa, fears of famine persist in Gaza and Sudan, where conflict continues to rage, fueling the regional risk of new hunger emergencies, warned the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). “Once a famine is declared, it is too late – many people will have already starved to death,” said Cindy McCain, WFP Executive Director. “In Somalia in 2011, half of the 250,000 people who died of hunger perished before famine was officially declared. The world failed to heed the warnings at the time and the repercussions were catastrophic. We must learn the lesson and act now to stop these hotspots from igniting a firestorm of hunger.” The devastating hunger crisis underway in South Sudan is so severe that the number of people facing starvation and death there is projected to almost double between April and July 2024, compared to the same period in 2023. “Tight domestic food supplies and sharp currency depreciation are driving food prices to soar, compounded by likely floods and recurrent waves of subnational conflict,” the report explained. “A projected further rise of returnees and refugees from Sudan is likely to increase acute food insecurity among both new arrivals and host communities.” Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, the Syrian Arab Republic, and Yemen are also hotspots of “very high concern,” the report noted. “A large number of people” in these countries face critical acute food insecurity, coupled with worsening drivers that are expected to further intensify life-threatening conditions in the coming months. Since October 2023, the Central African Republic, Lebanon, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Zambia joined Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Malawi, Somalia, and Zimbabwe on the list of hunger hotspots, where acute food insecurity is likely to deteriorate further in the coming months. Although conflict remains one of the main drivers of food insecurity, the joint early warning report from WFP and FAO emphasized that climate shocks are responsible too, not least the “still lingering” El Niño. Although that weather phenomenon is now coming to an end, “it is evident that its impact was severe and widespread,” the report’s authors insisted, pointing to devastating drought in southern Africa and extensive floods in east Africa. Turning to the potential impact and “looming threat” of La Niña between August and February 2025, the UN agencies’ assessment is that it is expected to “significantly” influence rainfall. This could lead to a climate shift with “major implications” in several countries, including flooding in South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Chad, Mali, and Nigeria, as well as Sudan. Both weather phenomena could bring further climate extremes “that could upend lives and livelihoods,” the UN-partnered report warned, in support of calls for immediate humanitarian action delivered at scale “to prevent further starvation and death.”This data and the pressing call for action highlight the urgent need for international cooperation and rapid response to prevent further deterioration of food security in these critical regions. The window to avert catastrophe is narrow, and the world must act swiftly to provide the necessary aid and support to those in desperate need.


HUNGER, POVERTY, UNEMPLOYMENT MARK TINUBU’S FIRST YEAR IN OFFICE President Bola Tinubu’s first year in office has thrown many Nigerians into hunger with an ample lack of basic amenities while unemployment keeps rising, the latest survey by the African Polling Institute (API) shows. In its survey, API, an independent, non-profit, and non-partisan opinion research think-tank noted that an overwhelming majority of citizens (84%) express profound sadness with the current state of affairs in the country. “Their voices, filled with dissatisfaction, are a clear call for action,” the report said. The national survey which was administered between May 1st and 18th 2024 sought to elicit citizens’ opinions and assessments of President Tinubu’s first year in office and it revealed that a significant majority of citizens (81%) feel the country is headed in the wrong direction. Some of the challenges Nigerians are presently contending with, according to the report are hunger, inability to meet basic needs, and rising insecurity among others. “Hunger (36%), Inability to meet basic needs (28%), Unemployment (13%), Heightened Insecurity (9%), and Poor Electricity Supply (5%) are identified as the biggest challenges facing them personally today,” the report stated. Also, a staggering 74% of citizens interviewed according to the report affirmed that their economic situation has deteriorated over the last year when compared to 20% who said their economic situation had remained the same and a mere 5% who said it had improved. Measuring President Tinubu’s performance in the past year, the API report shows that 78% of citizens expressed that he had performed “abysmally”, with 49% rating him “Very Poor” and 29% “Poor.” “This widespread dissatisfaction also extends to the performance of other arms of government, as a striking 81% of citizens rated Senate President Godswill Akpabio dismally, compared to 79% who rated Honourable Tajudeen Abbas, Speaker of the House of Representatives, poorly,” the report stated. “Also, the Nigerian Judiciary under the CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, was not spared, as 75% of citizens also rated him poorly,” it added. President Tinubu made bold market reforms immediately after he was sworn in. He ended the popular but costly fuel subsidy regime and devalued the naira twice within a year allowing the flotation of the local currency to revamp the economy. But these reforms have stoked price pressures, sending inflation to over 30 per cent in April, its highest in nearly three decades while food inflation has equally risen to over 40 per cent.These twin policies have led to a renewed cost-of-living crisis as prices of many essential commodities have surged by more than 100% within a year. The report however raised concerns about growing discontent across the country, especially among the youth due to the deplorable state of the nation. It added that many of these dissatisfied youths are largely unemployed and are waiting for an opportunity to cause mayhem. “API has keenly observed a growing mass of aggrieved and discontented citizens nationwide, especially among the youth.“Many are unemployed or underemployed and have become local crusaders and social activists in their communities, waiting for the slightest opportunity to vent their anger against fellow citizens and the Nigerian state,” it said.


AFDB, FG TO PARTNER ENUGU STATE IN AGRO-INDUSTRIAL PROCESSING The African Development Bank (AFDB) and the federal government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the Ministry of Finance, yesterday, disclosed its readiness to partner with the Enugu State Government in the development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SPAZ) in the state. This was in line with the promise made to the people by the Enugu State governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, that his administration would establish SAPZ in the three senatorial zones in the state as a way of harnessing commercial agriculture, food production, and rural areas into economic zones. The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, who was represented by Dr. Akande Oyetola of the African Financial Institutions while leading the team to Enugu State, described their visit to the proposed over 1,000 hectares of land earmarked for the pilot project as a preparatory mission to ascertain the level of preparedness of the state government for the landmark project. The minister, who commended the state’s readiness for the SAPZ initiative having provided over 1000 hectares of land for the kickoff with access road to the farmland, maintained that Enugu had met a good number of the condition precedent which a state must fulfill before the intervention of other partners in the development of the agro-processing zones. “We are here to improve the livelihood of the farmers, create investment for them, and improve their incentives as they engage in their farming activities. Our mission here is to see what Enugu State has in place to propel the bank to disburse funds for this project. I must say that I am satisfied with what I have seen because the state has provided over a thousand hectares of land which is one of the criteria a state must have to enable it to participate in this programme. It is one thing to be envisaging participation in a programme and another thing to have the requisite infrastructure. So, the infrastructure we are seeing now is satisfactory to us,” the minister added. The traditional ruler of Owo Community in Nkanu East Local Government Area, Igwe Okeke Arum, assured the visiting team that his people had already embraced the development, adding that Owo people would donate additional land if required and would continue to ensure the success of the project in order to guarantee food security in the country. “We gave this land to the government with our hearts. This is over 1000 hectares, and we are ready to give more. We welcome this development because we know that it will not only help our community but also the state and Nigeria at large. The community is ready, and we are supporting this development that is coming because the benefit is enormous,” the traditional ruler further noted. The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Agro Industrialisation, Engr. Patrick Ubru, who was accompanied by senior government officials in the state, said the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone was in line with Governor Peter Mbah’s mission to end hunger and eradicate poverty in the state. “We are very much ready for this project. As you can see, the governor is already constructing a 40km dual carriageway from Owo-Ubahu-Amankanu-Neke-Ikem-Obollo, linking Enugu State to the North Central. He has equally done the access road to the over 1000 hectares of land. We have equally gone ahead to do environmental impact analysis and feasibility studies, which we are going to amend in line with the recommendations of the federal government before their next visit. The community, too, is welcoming the development with two hands and promising to donate more land when the need arises,” Ubru said.Other dignitaries in the team included Dr. Chuma Ezedimma, team leader, African…


RISING INFLATION: HOW LOW INCOME EARNERS BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL Low income earners are struggling to meet their basic needs amidst the high cost of commodities occasioned by rising inflation. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its consumer price index for March 2024 revealed that headline inflation rose to 33.20 per cent in the month from 31.70 per cent in February. The March headline inflation has shown an increase of 1.5 per cent points when compared to the previous month, a situation that has further compounded the economic hardship facing Nigerians. In Benúe State, low income earners have lamented the untold hardship ravaging their families following the current inflation in the country with the attendant skyrocketing cost of food. Some of the people in Makurdi, the Benúe State capital, said they could no longer feed themselves for at least twice in a day, just as they are unable to meet their basic needs. Tina Emmanuel, an office assistant who earns as low as N15,000 monthly, said she had long resorted to divine provision to get by on a daily basis. “Before now, I started surviving by God’s grace, and I’m still going on that strength. I have adjusted and readjusted such that I don’t go for quality anymore but for quantity. “I get only what’s affordable – it’s really rough and rough. It is also annoying that the prices of food and other essential commodities are steadily on the rise to the extent that what one buys in the morning might cost higher by the evening of same day. “For me, if I manage to get what we (my family of three) can eat, I will just thank God and relax for that day. I have never met my needs with the income I earn; I’m always pursuing my needs and yet to get them,” she said. Another low income earner, Blessing Orlu, who teaches in a private primary school, expressed worry that her N18,000 monthly salary could barely buy her food for four days. Orlu said she sometimes wondered how she would survive the next day because most times she goes to bed hungry. “Life is hard for me. I can barely feed, let alone buy any other need. My salary can’t fetch me food for four days; I trek most of the times to work. The suffering is too much,” Orlu added. In the same vein, Lucky Basil, a cleaner, opined that coping with his meager earnings had become a major setback for him and his family. Basil said, “We are suffering excessively. I can’t feed my family any longer. I pray that this government shows us mercy. Sometimes I cry, seeing my children go to bed hungry.” In Kano, the story of many Nigerians earning as low as N10,000 or N15,000 monthly amidst the living cost crisis triggered by rising inflation is that of agony and frustration. They complained that the income they earn is not enough to buy food that can last a week or two. To understand the ways and means low income earners device to survive and navigate through these turbulent times with such meagre salaries and still manage to keep their heads above the waters of inflation and hardship in the country, our reporter spoke to this category of people in Kano, a city bursting with commercial activities. A private school teacher, Mrs Amarachi Ogoemeka, who earns N18,000 monthly at Rayday International School Onitsha Road, Sabon Gari, Kano, said she managed to live within her income. Being a mother of four children who are all in primary school, she said her N18,000 salary was not enough to cater for the need of her family. She disclosed that on receiving her salary at the end of the…


NAIRA BEST-PERFORMING CURRENCY IN APRIL, TO EXCHANGE BELOW N1,000/$ – GOLDMAN SACHS A report by Goldman Sachs economists said that with the appreciation rate of the Naira in the foreign exchange market, the currency may exchange below N1,000 per Dollar in the coming months. The think-tank disclosed this in its latest report on Nigeria’s economic realities. The report stated that the Naira rallied 12 per cent against the Dollar in April, adding to its 14 per cent surge in March. In March, Goldman Sachs forecasted that the Naira would appreciate to N1,200 per Dollar in 2024. The group’s projection became a reality on Monday when the Naira exchanged at N1,230.61 at the official market and N1,200 at the parallel market. With the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, intervening by selling FX to Bureau De Change operators at a reviewed rate of N1,101 per Dollar from N1,251, the Naira appreciated by N60, trading at 1,140 per Dollar at the Parallel Market on Friday. In the past months, CBN has said the country has witnessed a surge in capital inflows on the backdrop of several policy interventions.At its last Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting, the CBN raised the interest rate to 24.75 per cent, helping it retrace losses caused by two devaluations since June last year.


HUNGER: ANGER AS MANY NIGERIANS DIE IN SEARCH OF PALLIATIVES Several Nigerians lost their lives in the past few days while struggling to benefit from palliatives being distributed by the government amid the rising hunger in the land. The latest is the unfortunate incident at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, where two students were reported dead during the distribution of palliatives while 23 have been hospitalised. Governor Abdullahi Sule had ordered the distribution of two 7.5 kg bags of rice and N5,000 to each student of the state university in Keffi, the state capital. However, two students- Grace Danladi and Rose Michael died in the unfortunate incident, while others were injured during a stampede ahead of the distribution of the palliatives to students of the school. An official statement said the palliatives were billed for distribution at the convocation arena of the school before some students overpowered the security on the ground, causing a stampede that resulted in the death and injuries of the students while they carted away the food items. In his reaction, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State said the death of the two students was not as a result of government’s negligence. The governor made the statement when he appeared as a guest on Channel’s Television. “It’s not something that happened on the part of negligence by the government. “It’s very unfortunate that it happened but it had nothing to do with any planning, it has nothing to do with any negligence. We have been to eight places. “It was the last place, which would have been the ninth institution that we went to. So, all these other places that we went, everything went so smoothly,” he said. According to him, the stampede was not because of planning but because some students thought that their names were being replaced by the Students’ Union Government of the institution, hence the anxiety. “We are very sad that two students died. We are talking with the families. So, for somebody to politicise it? It’s unfortunate that we are in a country where everybody looks at a tragedy and politicize it,” he added Underhand dealings and inadequacy of the materials to meet the needs of Nigerians are some of the reasons being adduced for the deaths of citizens. Seven persons died at the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Old Zonal Headquarters in Yaba area of Lagos State while residents were making efforts to buy seized rice from the Service, which was sold at N10,000 per 25kg to alleviate people’s sufferings in the face of the economic crunch in the country. The exercise witnessed chaos and confusion when what was supposed to be a gesture of assistance from the government, the distribution of 25kg bags of rice, turned into an unpleasant scene, leaving many citizens frustrated and struggling. The stampede was said to have occurred due to poor crowd management by the Customs, as hundreds of people tried to force themselves into the venue to buy the rice. The Comptroller General of the NCS, Mr. Adewale Adeniyi, had assured the process for the sale of the food items had been perfected such that a form with all the details of the applicant including the National Identification Number, NIN, would be submitted and a bar code generated for the collection of the commodity. Another recent incident in Bauchi State also saw at least four women confirmed dead in a stampede that occurred during the distribution of zakat (almsgiving exercise) to residents in the state. The incident occurred on Sunday at the Shafa Holdings Company headquarters along Jos road in Bauchi. Ahmed Wakil, police spokesperson in Bauchi, confirmed the development, saying that a 17-year-old girl, Naima Abdullahi, sustained injuries during the stampede. Abdullahi was reported to be…