As the lockdown on Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states ordered by the Federal Government of Nigeria enters the third week, livestock farmers and stakeholders in these states have come under severe constraint to continue with their activities, even at subsistence level.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture realizing the constraints to the movement of farmers and others engaged in the food chain has proposed to provide “special passes to be recognized by the security agencies to facilitate free movement of food stuff, perishables, farm inputs, livestock and fish” within the affected states. This is contained in the communiqué issued issued at the end of the meeting of the Honourable Minister of Agriculture with Ministers of Defence, Interior and Police Affairs on emergency response to covid-19 held on April 20, 2020 at minister’s conference room, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development head quarters in Abuja.
The full communiqué made available to Livestonews is reproduced below;
- Nigeria, like the rest of the world, is currently facing the challenge of COVID-19 Pandemic which has necessitated a Presidential directive on lockdown, restricting movement within and across States considered as epicentres of the infection in Nigeria namely Lagos, Ogun and FCT.
- This lockdown directive has similarly been given by various State governments in an effort to prevent community transmission of this disease within their respective States.
- Hence the need to put in place a strategy in order to facilitate free movement of food and agricultural inputs nationwide to avoid food shortages and ensure 2020 production season is not hampered.
After thorough deliberations, the meeting resolved and agreed as follows:
i. that security agencies officials at States and Federal levels should work within the framework of the Federal COVID-19 Emergency Action Response Plans with relevant law enforcement agencies to develop modalities of ensuring easy movement of foodstuff, livestock and farm inputs.
ii. that the relevant security agencies should work in a coordinated way with clear instructions and directives to law enforcement agents at the various checkpoints to facilitate the passage of vehicles conveying foodstuff, perishable farm products, livestock and farm inputs without compromising national security or health measures.
iii. that Law Enforcement Agents should liaise with local governments’ and States’ officials in determining modalities for facilitating the movement of foodstuffs to and from markets during the lockdowns.
iv. that Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Law enforcement agents under the guidance of the four Ministers set up joint technical task team to draw guidelines for ensuring the safe operations of farmers/grains markets, livestock and poultry markets and dealers and sellers of agricultural inputs during the COVID-19 Crisis.
v. that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development working with various farmers’ associations, crop producers association, poultry associations, tractor services associations, to design a mechanisms of providing special passes to be recognized by the security agencies to facilitate free movement of food stuff, perishables, farm inputs, livestock and fish.
vi. that the National Union of Road Transport Workers be engaged in the Task force strategy.
vii. that the a Joint Technical Task Team to work with States Commissioners of Police, Commandant of Civil Defence Corps and other senior Military officials in the States to respond rapidly to any reported logjam involving foodstuffs or livestock.
viii. that this opportunity should not be used to transport contraband items including illicit drugs, arms and ammunition.
ix. that the four Ministers to convene a Periodic Review Meeting to assess the situation and advise the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
x. that the resolutions of this meeting will, in turn, be communicated to the Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Chairman of Governors’ Forum and Chairman of ALGON for information and further action.
The Honourable Minister of Agriculture appreciates the Honourable Ministers of Defence, Interior and Police Affairs for honouring his invitation and the support they agreed to give this initiative.
Alhaji Mohammad Sabo Nanono
Honourable Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development