The Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samai’la Muhammad Mera, has urged the National Assembly to pass the Right to Food Bill without further delay.
The traditional ruler made the plea while receiving the coalition of civil society groups promoting the right of every Nigerian to Food.
The Emir while responding to a presentation on the Right to Food Bill by the Chairman of Voices for Food Security (VFS), Prof. Gbolagade Ayoola, expressed surprise that Nigeria is yet to have food as a fundamental human right enshrined in the constitution.
Prof. Ayoola who is also the President of Farm and Infrastructure Foundation (FIF) earlier told the Emir that, the latest World Hunger Index published by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) indicates that as at last year (2017), with an index value of 25.5 Nigeria ranked 84th among 119 countries in the category of “Serious Hunger Prevalence”.
“This implies that about three quarter of its population (about 150 million people) presently suffers from acute adult malnutrition, child stunting, child wasting and child mortality, all linked to food insecurity of the country,” Ayoola said in a statement made available to Daily Trust.
According to him, the fact that the universality of the subject matter also exists in the number of countries of the world that have adopted the concept of food as a right or passed a right to food Bill as the basis for implementing food policies.
He said it was due to the need for a suitable legal environment for right to food to take a firm root in Nigeria, that the bill was introduced at the National Assembly as far as 2010 during the 6th Assembly.
He said, “The Bill, which has suffered a great setback during the Sixth Assembly (2007-2011), and also suffered a similar fate during the Seventh Assembly (2011-2015), is now at the Committee stage during this present Eighth Assembly (2015-2019), having passed the Second Reading at the Federal House of Representatives and the First Reading at the Senate as at June 2016.”
The Emir appreciated the right to food bill campaign coalition for the efforts at pushing the bill under such discouraging condition since its introduction.
He referred to the right to food bill campaign as a patriotic endeavour which is strategic to the growth of the agricultural sector and the survival of this nation. He noted that the bill will take care of almost 80 percent of the concerns surrounding food security.
He also assured the coalition of his unflinching support for the bill and his readiness to reach out to all critical stakeholders within his sphere of influence to mobilize support for the passage of the right to food bill by the 8th National Assembly without delay.