Peter Obi reacts as heavy stampede kills Nigerians trying to buy cheap rice at Customs office

Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi
Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi

 

By OLA MUDOPE, Lagos –

The 2023 Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi said he is saddened that Nigerians are losing their lives in their desperate quest to buy cheaper food in the face of the growing hunger and starvation in the country.

NATIONAL ACCORD reports that a massive crowd of hungry Nigerians had besieged the Zonal Office of the Nigerian Customs Service in Yaba, Lagos, to purchase the discounted 25kg bags of rice being offered by the Customs Service.

 

In the course of the heavy stampede that ensued, some lives were reportedly lost.

Heavy stampede at Customs office in Lagos

Reacting to the incident in a statement via his X handle on Monday, Mr. Obi, a former Governor of Anambra State, said: “Just yesterday, I read the saddening reports of how the search for cheap rice claimed the lives of some Nigerians in Lagos.

This sad occurrence according to him reflects the level of hardship, hunger, and starvation prevalent in the country, with millions of people not knowing where their next meal will come from. It is very disheartening that our national economy has been driven into perhaps the worst state in all of our national history .

“The population of those who are, today, classified as multi-dimensionally poor has climbed astronomically to over 80% of our population. We have a hunger index considered very serious, with Nigeria ranking 109th out of 125 countries measured.

“Our food inflation rate is at an all-time high, at over 35 percent. Similarly, unemployment is galloping, and for a predominantly youthful population, this scenario is dire and frighteningly dangerous. For the first time in our peacetime history, stark undisguised hunger has become a national epidemic with hundreds of thousands of our people driven into open protests over food scarcity and unaffordability. The hunger protests have united our people across ethnicity, language, region, faith, and location.

Most distressing is that in all our adversity, our leaders have resorted to spending stupendous amounts of resources on wasteful items like ordering expensive renovations of offices and residences that are already in luxurious conditions.

“We have seen our government spend more money on car parks for politicians than for the running of half of our teaching hospitals. In all this, there has been scanty attention to the living conditions of the ordinary people they were elected to care for.

“The huge amounts of borrowed resources that should have been channeled into production, especially food production, to guarantee an abundant supply of food in the nation, were rather consumed on inanities, rather than invested.

“Today, we are one big nation united by hunger and starvation, to the point of dying to make ends meet. Again, I strongly urge the government to lead the crusade against hunger by investing aggressively in our agricultural sector.

“The vast uncultivated lands in the North, as I have always said, are our biggest assets. Now is the time to put them into maximum use for food production in the nation and for exports. In doing this, the government and security agencies must ensure the safety and security of the farmers.

“I salute the resilience and determination of our Nigerian people, who in the face of all these challenges, continue to strive hard, with hope for a better nation.

“I encourage us all to remain resolute in our journey to building the New Nigeria of our dreams which remains Possible”, he said.

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