The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has inaugurated the joint technical task team on emergency response to COVID-19. The Joint task team is to facilitate the free and unhindered movement of food, livestock and agricultural inputs and farmer’s movement across the nation during the lockdown and 2020 farming season to avoid food crises.
Speaking during the inauguration in Abuja today, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, charged the committee “to facilitate the free movement of food, livestock and agricultural inputs nationwide to avoid food shortages and ensure minimal impact of COVID -19 on this year’s farming season.”
Nanono pointed out that “numerous reports have been received by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the problem faced by transporters of food, livestock and agricultural inputs in different parts of the country” as a result of the unavoidable enforcement of restriction orders. This he said have resulted in food scarcity and negatively impacted on the nation’s agricultural production.
The Minister stated that an emergency meeting with the Ministers of Defence, Interior and Police Affairs deliberated and articulated a common agenda towards ensuring minimal impact of COVID-19 on this year’s farming season in line with the directives of Mr. President and has prompted the Joint Task Technical Team inaugurated today.
Responding on behalf of the Joint Technical Task Team, the Committee Chairman, Assistant Inspector General of Police, (Operations), Austin Agbonlahor, pledged the committee’s commitment to the tasks ahead and promised to deliver on its mandate.
The Joint Technical Task Team is made up of the following members; AIG Austin Agbonlahor, AIG P(Operations) – Chairman, ACG Bunu Modu, Nigeria Security & Civil Defense Crops – Member, Umar Farouk Mudi ,National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) – Member, Representative ,Nigeria Army – Member, Mr. Chris Isizuzo, National Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ), Ibikunle Tajudeen Barruwa, National President, NURTW – Member and Zubariu Abdullahi, Director, Planning and Policy Coordination, FMARD – Secretary and it’s Terms of Reference are as follows:
· to work with relevant agencies in the States and Local Government Areas to develop a window that will facilitate the free and unhindered movement of food, livestock and Agricultural inputs without compromising the Security and health of the nation.
· to issue out clear instruction to all the security personnel in the three internal security outfits of police, civil defense and the army on the need to allow the free and unhindered movement of foodstuff, livestock and Agricultural inputs to all parts of Nigeria.
· to work with the National Union of Roads Transport workers (NURTW), to adequately educate its members in ensuring that vehicles conveying foodstuff, livestock and Agricultural inputs (excluding passengers) are allowed to pass and
· to ensure that adequate information clarifying the controlled movement of foodstuff, livestock and Agricultural inputs is disseminated by the media to food transporters and security personnel.
For: Director, Information (FMARD)