President Bola Tinubu has returned to Nigeria after a two-week private trip to Paris, France. His arrival on Tuesday night was marked by a landing at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja around 9 pm.
Tinubu was greeted by top government officials, including his Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume; National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu; and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike. Also present were Kaduna State Governor Uba Sani, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Heineken Lokpobiri, Director-General of the Department of State Service Yusuf Bichi, among others.
Although the purpose of Tinubu’s visit remained undisclosed, his departure statement on January 24 mentioned his return “in the first week of February 2024.”
This trip marks Tinubu’s third to France and his 14th foreign visit since taking office eight months ago. He returns amid nationwide protests over escalating food and living expenses.
In response to the protests, Tinubu has directed immediate interventions to alleviate suffering and prevent further security challenges. This directive was highlighted during a meeting of the Special Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention chaired by Chief of Staff Femi Gbajabiamila at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja, as announced by Minister of Information and National Orientation Muhammed Idris on Tuesday.
After Tuesday’s meeting, which is the first of a series of three, Mohammed told journalists, “It is a special presidential committee to address the issue of food shortage or lack of enough food on the table of most Nigerians.
“What I will tell Nigerians is that the President has directed that government needs to step in to stem this tide. The government will not fold its arms and see how Nigerians are suffering regarding the availability of these food items.
“So, I want to plead with you to understand with the government. By the time these meetings are concluded, we’ll be able to issue a definite statement on the government’s position in this regard. But all I can say is that discussions are ongoing, and very soon, a solution is in sight for Nigerians.”
Idris, who argued that Nigeria was in no shortage of food, said the Federal Government was in talks with millers and major commodity traders to avail more supply, thereby reducing the price of some commodities.
He also alleged that some elements were taking advantage of the high food prices and the depreciation of the naira to wreak havoc.
“The government is also talking to major millers and major commodity traders, also to see what is available in their stores, to open it up so the government will provide some intervention, discuss with them, provide some intervention to make this food available to Nigerians.
“What the government is noticing is that actually there is still food in this country. Some people are taking advantage of the situation, especially because of the depreciation in the value of our currency, which has led to the cost of these food items also going up.
“So, all these issues were discussed…the National Security Adviser was there because this also has some national security implications. All these have been discussed,” the minister explained.