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Minister of Defense Warns Nigerians on Comments Amid Economic Hardship

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In the midst of mounting frustration over soaring food prices and escalating insecurity, Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle, has issued a stern warning against making “unwarranted” and “unguarded statements” targeting President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

Expressing concern over the potential consequences of inflammatory remarks, Matawalle cautioned Nigerians to refrain from exacerbating tensions through divisive commentary.

The statement, conveyed by the spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence, Henshaw Ogubike, emphasized the need for responsible dialogue and urged citizens to avoid rhetoric that could incite violence in the nation.

Matawalle defended President Tinubu’s efforts in addressing economic challenges, asserting that the government is diligently working to alleviate the burdens faced by the populace.

The Minister’s admonition comes amidst nationwide discontent over economic hardship, as reflected in recent protests in Niger, Kano, and Osun states regarding the exorbitant cost of food. As the Nigerian Labour Congress declared a two-day nationwide protest in response to the worsening situation.

Notably, the National Bureau of Statistics reported a surge in the inflation rate to 29.90 per cent in January 2024, exacerbating concerns about the affordability of essential commodities.

Recall the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, leading the Northern Traditional Council, warned of potential unrest if the issues of poverty, hunger, and insecurity are not adequately addressed.

Responding to the growing outcry, President Tinubu directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to release approximately 42,000 metric tonnes of grain, including maize, millet, and garri, across the country. This move aims to alleviate the strain on citizens grappling with food insecurity and rising costs.

A move that has been criticized by the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, “I feel sad when we talk of the federal government giving people grains as if we are giving grains to pigeons and all these other birds,” he noted.

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