With clamours over what is tagged the “hunger virus” by many Nigerians, the Federal Government has said it would ensure unrestricted movement of food items and farm products across the country.
The FG through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) is set to instate a Joint Technical Taskforce to ensure rapid responses to the food needs of Nigerians.
FMARD Minister, Alhaji Sabo Nanono revealed this in a communique issued at the end of a meeting on Emergency Response to COVID-19.
The meeting was attended by key officials in government, including the Ministers of Defence, Interior and Police Affairs.
According to Nanono, in line with law enforcement agencies, the ministry will set up joint technical task teams to mark up strategies for effective operation of the response.
He said the task force will design strategies for providing special, recognisable passes to facilitate free movement of farm inputs, perishable food items, livestock and fish.
The strategies, will also include proper operations of markets, as well as dealers in agricultural inputs, during the pandemic.
“A Joint Technical Task Force to work with state commissioners of Police, commandants of Civil Defence Corps and other senior military officials to respond rapidly to reported logjam involving foodstuff or livestock.
“The four ministers will convene a periodic review meeting to assess the situation and advise the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19. This opportunity should not be used to transport contraband items including illicit drugs, arms, and ammunition.
“Security agencies at all levels should work within the framework of COVID-19 Emergency Action Response Plan to develop modalities for easy movement of foodstuff, livestock and farming inputs”, the minister said.
The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) will also be incorporated into the task force strategy, Nanono emphasised.
He said the ministry would join forces with various agricultural stakeholders and associations to avert any food crisis.