The Farm and Infrastructure Foundation, a civil advocacy organization at the frontline of food security in Nigeria, has charged Nigerians to join forces in ensuring that governments in the country prioritize policies and programmes that will ensure food security as their fundamental human right in the years ahead.

The FIF Founder and Lead Advocate, Prof. Gbolagade Ayoola said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja

Ayoola commended the current food intervention efforts by the President Bola Tinubu’s administration amid growing macroeconomic whirlwinds occasioned by the fuel subsidy and other fiscal reforms

He however, stressed that the current ugly situation was sequel to past failure of successive governments to prioritize food security for the citizenry.

He emphasised, that the new Act was the critical instrument required for the successful prosecution of the administration’s war against hunger declared by the President last year.

According to him, however, the feedback received from the public in recent weeks about the food situation in the country, particularly the rising prices that make basic food items unaffordable to many Nigerians, showed that a large population of Nigerians were totally unaware that the much sought Right to Food Bill had been passed and signed into law since 2023; especially that the new Act is not an apology of state socialism but only a policy responsibility and accountability Act to empower the citizens to participate maximally in the policy process affecting their lives.

Ayoola, a professor of Agricultural Economics and member of the Nigeria Zero Hunger Forum (NZHF) at the instance of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said that the Bill had now become the ‘Food Security and Right to Food Act, No. 34 of March 2023’, which should be fully explored by Nigerians to guarantee food security for all.

He said: “The enactment of the Bill into law after over a decade of agitations by the Farm and Infrastructure Foundation with support from other advocacy groups brings to a logical conclusion the sustained policy and legislative advocacy, embarked upon by FIF since 2010 when the Bill was first introduced at the National Assembly, at the instance of the organization.

“Thus, going forward we have now reached the implementation stage of the new Right to Food Act, for which we hereby call on the government to do the needful as the custodian and implementer of statute law in Nigeria.

“Therefore, our Foundation is now enjoining Nigerians, irrespective of their social and cultural backgrounds, to come together and join force with FIF towards a faithful implementation of the ‘Right to Food Act’ in Nigeria to guarantee food and healthy diet for all Nigerians as provided for in this enabling legislation”, the agro-economic expert added.

Ayoola had, in the course of the FIF’s agitation for an enabling law for right to food for Nigerians through a memorandum addressed to the 8th National Assembly in 2020, canvassed the need for the amendment of the Constitution whereby the right to food would be explicitly recognized by the Constitution; which ‘dream’ has now been actualised by virtue of the new Act.

He maintained that recognising food as human right in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, would legally empower the citizens to engage governments over failure to make food available and affordable by not effectively providing irrigation facilities, rural road networks, markets, and other critical infrastructure for food production and supply.

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