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‘You are completely out of touch’ — Ezekwesili hits Buhari over directive to CBN

Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of education, has described President Muhammadu Buhari as a “completely out-of-touch leader” over his directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop providing foreign exchange for food importation.

In a statement issued on Tuesday by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, the president said he had asked the CBN to stop issuing foreign exchange for food importation so as to stimulate the growth of agriculture and to ensure food security.

Some Nigerians have criticised the president’s directive. Kingsley Moghalu, former deputy governor of CBN, said such an economic policy should not be imposed on the CBN by a political authority, and that the bank has lost its independence.

“Nigeria’s entire economy appears to have been sub-contracted to our central bank, including industrial and trade policy. In the process the economy has fared poorly and the Bank has lost its independence. This is sad,” he said.

Ezekwesili also lashed out on the president on Twitter, saying he is living in a bubble.

”A completely out-of-touch ‘leader’. He is cocooned away in the grandeur of @AsoRock where they serve him delicatessen and praise-sing to him: ‘ranka dede sir’, your agriculture policy is working wonderfully. All farmers in Nigeria are now billionaires & exporting to the US,” she said.

The CBN said it will proceed with the president’s directive and that the implementation of the forex ban on food import would be in phases.

We all know that @NGRPresident @MBuhari has absolute contempt for Data but we shall go ahead and put out here some of the Knowledge he should have had before making this latest blunder of ‘Directing’ what should be an independent @cenbank to “not give a cent for food import”.

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Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
Replying to @obyezeks
I will share the latest information on Nigeria from FEWS NET, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, which provides information and analysis on food insecurity around the world.
That our @NGRPresident thinks we have achieved Food Security says a lot about his Policy-Making.

Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
FEWS Net is Famine Early Warning Systems Network. It “uses an integrated approach that considers climate, agriculture production, prices, trade, nutrition, and other factors, together with an understanding of local livelihoods.”

Knowledge that helps Evidence-Based Policies.

Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
Replying to @obyezeks
In the next few tweets, I’ll share highlights of FEWS Net June 2018 to January 2019 Report on Food Insecurity in Nigeria for many reasons that any reasonable person will easily understand.

Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
Replying to @obyezeks
“Humanitarian actors have provided sustained food assistance delivery in 2018, reaching 2.5 million people in April 2018 across the 3 northeast states. In May, food assistance deliveries reached 15 percent fewer households, meeting targets closer to what was seen in March 2017”

Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
“With the continuing military offensive, new arrivals continue to be identified in the northeast. As of May, IOM identified 1.8 million people displaced by conflict in northeast Nigeria. Between late Nov2017 &April 2018 an estimated 100,000 new arrivals across Borno & Adamawa…”

Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
Replying to @obyezeks
“Outside northeast, the main agric season is progressing favorably in much of the rest of the country, &harvests are expected to be average to above-average. Most households will have seasonally typical access to food,income& remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity”

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Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
“Various stages of cultivation activities continue throughout the country. In south &some central areas, they have begun harvesting early green maize&tubers. In other areas of central Nigeria, planting, weeding, &fertilizer application for maize, sorghum &legumes is underway.”

Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
Replying to @obyezeks
“Planting of staples such as millet, sorghum, and maize, as well as groundnut, cowpea, and sesame cash crops, is progressing in most northern areas. Government support through the Anchor Borrowers’ Program continues to contribute to farmers’ access to improved inputs.”

Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
“However, areas worst-affected by farmer/pastoralist conflict are facing greater difficulty accessing basic needs and will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).”

Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
Replying to @obyezeks
”In displaced settlement areas and larger cities, affected populations have restricted access to land for cultivation. Additionally, ongoing insecurity is again in 2018 keeping many from engaging or participating fully in cultivation.”

Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
“Heavy conflict between pastoral and farming communities in central and northern areas of the country also continue. These conflicts have left hundreds dead and lead to the destruction of property.”

Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
Replying to @obyezeks
”These conflicts are also leading to the displacement of households and keeping many from their livelihoods. Both cultivation activities and pastoralists’ herd movements are affected.”

Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
“Main agricultural season: The agricultural season is expected to progress normally. The main season harvests will start normally in September/October across the country. Harvests are expected to be average to above average in most areas.”

Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
Replying to @obyezeks
”As with most years, it is also likely that there will be some crop loss due to excessive flooding along major floodplains.”

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Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
I have put out highlights of FEWS Net Report on Nigeria up to January 2019.
As obvious from the Report, there are positives on Agriculture which for example include improved farmers’ access to input from the Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
But, nothing of Food Security yet exists.

Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
Replying to @obyezeks
What is Food Security, @NGRPresident ?
I will offer the universal meaning provided by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security because that should help a Policy Maker know easily whether such is the case in Nigeria before taking a major Policy stance in Agriculture.

Oby Ezekwesili@obyezeks
Food security, as defined by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, means that all people, at all times, have physical, social&economic access to sufficient, safe, & nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.

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