Davy Fidel

It is alarming the rate at which prices of food items keep rising every day in the market. The report from the National Bureau of Statistics shows that over 40 per cent of Nigerians (89 million people) live below the poverty line and can barely afford a steady three square meal.

With a country blessed with abundant mineral & natural resources, the ruling APC government has demonstrated its inability to harness these resources for the betterment of its citizenry. However, the incessant hike in food commodities can be linked with the outrageous neo-liberal policies of the Buhari regime.

For instance, the closure of borders at a point when the country could barely produce enough for its population, and refusing to adequately make the necessary fund available from the wealth of the country under its control for investment in agricultural production, meant that it action simply gave the supplier chain of smugglers and market speculators the leeway to astronomically shoot up prices, since consumers were now completely dependent on their effort to access the food items, this was the exact scenario with rice.

Garri which is a staple food in the country and completely locally produced in the country, a “60kg of yellow garri sells for ₦19,000 [presently] as against ₦9,600 in December 2020— a 97 per cent rise in price”. (Business Day, Tuesday, 6 July 2021), the same thing applies to wheat, beans etc, making these food items unaffordable to working-class families. Interestingly some traders and local canteens aka Mama Put has had to close shop, given the huge losses they have suffered. It follows therefore that the hunger situation would get worse if nothing fundamentally is done to address the rise of food items.

And with the exchange rate of a dollar to Naira at N565, the situation would get terrible given the dependent on importation for some food items, on fertilizers and other agricultural tools even for food items locally produced. A good example here is wheat, in the first three months of 2021, Nigeria imported wheat worth N258.3 billion. This is against “N127.9 billion in the same period of 2020, a 102 per cent increase in value” (ibid). For the local bourgeoisie, it simply makes more sense and more profitable to go on importing and transfer the burden to the consumers.

In 2021, the Global Report on Food Crises linked the unresolved state of insecurity in the country to the “growing food crisis” and will “persist through January 2022”, while The Nation newspaper, expressively estimated the fact that 13 million Nigerians risk acute food insecurity, it makes nonsense of the claim by the Buhari regime of having lifted 100 million Nigerians as attested to by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.


The sharp drop in the crude oil price can only mean tough times are ahead, but even with an increase in oil price internationally, the situation for the working masses is not any different, if anything, it is worst off, given the fact that the country does not have functional refineries and it must import fuel for local consumption, forcing an increase in prices. Interestingly, the Buhari regime has already announced an intention to increase fuel price from N162 to between N345 and N365.

This would hit the working masses harder, far below the belt, and would increase the ranks of those in the poverty bracket. It follows therefore that the working masses and trade unions have to organise to resist any hike in fuel price and electricity tariff, and all anti-poor policies, school fees hike, increase in taxes and non-implementation and payment of the minimum wage.

The Buhari regime has no excuse for not fighting the growing state of insecurity in the country with the huge budgetary allocation to defence. How then do we explain all of the terrorists, bandits, and armed groups dominating the landscape of the north, occupying and taking over forest holds and farmlands and making farmers afraid and unable to go to their farms, and when they find the courage to go so as not to die from hunger, they get kidnapped and raped as the case maybe.

It is this state of insecurity that has greatly worsened the food and hunger crisis in the country, resulting in a tremendous drop in food production compared to the last 10-20 years. One cannot begin to imagine how any working-class family can bear to survive on the paltry monthly minimum wage of N30, 000 per month ($59.6). It is therefore clear that there will be no way forward for the working masses if they don’t begin to organise themselves.

Put pressure on their traditional organizations, the trade unions, to protest and put forward demands among which should include the provision of adequate security to allow farmers and herders to go about their lawful activities and pursuits, the necessary support through government funds, to support the establishment of ranches and forest reserves, the needed tools and subsidy for agricultural production as well as the establishment of government cooperatives.


Of course, capitalism has failed to move humanity forward. But under socialism, the question of using public funds under the democratic management and control of Workers and poor Farmers’ government will be the guiding principle of governance that will be utilized to tackle hunger, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, health challenges, illiteracy etc. against the system that says government don’t have business in business – using public resources to provide food, shelter, jobs; and above all, development and industrialization.

Practically, farmers, herders, and all categories of agricultural workers, under a socialist government, will jointly function together as a unit benefiting from each other input as opposed to the rivalry and clashing. The country is awash all over with arable land that with all of the necessary funds from the wealth and resources of the country to ensure all that is needed is made available for successful food production in the agricultural fields.

With the necessary storage facilities and a massive improvement in transportation to cover both rail lines, road networks, waterways, the difficulties in linking and moving food items from the rural areas to the cities will be eliminated. So also will the connection with industries be restored, since the funds will be available for agro-based industries to be established in locations close to their sources of raw materials, and this would tremendously go a long way to not just solving the question of food crisis in the country, but as well tackle the question of unemployment.

A government of the working masses with its programme of Socialist Alternative will do away with capitalism and the idea of profit-making and super profit, which is what in reality is the reason for the ruinous policies of privatization, deregulation, and commercialization of the major sectors of the economy including the underinvestment in the agricultural sector to put plenty money in the bank account of the billionaire club.