The N11.92 billion estimated for food and foreign trips of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the N20.51 trillion 2023 budget proposal before the National Assembly was criticized on Tuesday by the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) as being false and exaggerated.
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the National Coordinator of HURIWA, tasked the President in a statement to drastically reduce the outrageous budget for food and travel to N1 billion and allocate the remaining N10.92 billion to farmers and other flood victims in order to expand the country’s agricultural sector.
The organization claimed that it is illogical for the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, to avoid being grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on how billions intended for the needy were wasted.
The National School Feeding Program has reportedly cost the Federal Government $100 million to feed 10 million students.
Contrarily, more than six Nigerians fall into the category of extreme poverty every minute, pushing the nation’s total number of impoverished people closer to the 95.1 million estimate for this year set by the World Bank.
Additionally, Nigeria’s position of 103 out of 121 nations in the 2022 Global Hunger Index (GHI) indicates that the country has a serious level of hunger.
In its most recent Poverty and Prosperity Report for 2022, the World Bank claimed that Nigeria contributed three million people to worldwide severe poverty while also being “home to a major share of the global extreme poor.”
Onwubiko of HURIWA commented,
When many more Nigerians are starving to death, it is regrettable and abhorrent that elected leaders in Nigeria act in such a gluttonous and avaricious manner.
“HURIWA directs the President to slash this fictitious budget for food and travel to merely N1 billion, freeing up the remaining monies to support local agricultural output and a strong security infrastructure.
“To expand the country’s agricultural industry, some of the monies should also be given to farmers and other flood victims. The Humanitarian Affairs ministry must be abolished, anti-hunger measures must be enacted, and the minister must face difficult questioning from the EFCC regarding the use of billions intended for the needy.
“It is confusing and illogical that as the government claims to have spent billions on feeding the poor, the more hungry the Nigerians get, indicating that the funds are being skimmed.
Within the next three days, “HURIWA requests a public TV debate with the minister of humanitarian affairs on these fraudulent statements so we can expose their fallacies.”