Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja
Some ministers on Tuesday in Abuja appealed to Nigerians to exercise more patience, saying President Muhammadu Buhari was aware of hunger in the country.
They said the President and the Federal Government were working hard to alleviate their suffering.
The ministers spoke at the Special Edition of a Town Hall Meeting series dedicated to the youths.
The event was held at the Presidential Villa.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, hosted the event.
Also at the programme were the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola(SAN); Mrs. Kemi Adeosun (Finance) ; Chief Audu Ogbeh (Agriculture); Labour and Employment, (Dr. Chris Ngige); Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; and the Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung.
The ministers were responding to complaints by some members of the audience, who accused them (the ministers) of change in their lifestyles since they assumed office.
The youths insisted that the ministers must carry their message of hunger to the President.
Clapping as the questions were being thrown at the ministers, the youths said President Buhari and members of his cabinet must work to lift the country out of the woods.
One of the youths from Kuje Area Council, said he would have preferred to send the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, to his principal about the level of hunger in the nation.
He, however, asked the ministers to take the message to the President.
He also asked them to know that the youths were waiting for the President and his team in 2019 when another election would be due.
The youth from Kuje asked, “I don’t know if the S.A on Media to the President is here. I would have loved to send him to the President. But honourable ministers, help us tell the President that we are hungry. Nigerians are very hungry.
“ If he has changed from his promises during the campaign, we are also waiting for him in 2019.”
While asking each of the ministers to answer questions directed at them, Mohammed said he was not going to come to the aid of any of them.
“Every minister would bear his own cross. I don’t have to repeat the questions,” the minister said.
But he said the present government was not responsible for the hunger in the country.
Ogbeh, in his response, said government was working hard to reduce the level of hunger in the country.
He said, “Government is working hard to make sure that we don’t go hungry.
“We are planning at least 10 dams in one state. Kano State has 23, yet no one is being utilised.
“The problem with us is that we have all become elitist. We have become so arrogant to label farmers as lazybones…
“If we can’t feed ourselves, we can’t go anywhere. A young man said Nigerians are hungry, we are aware.
“When we get to meetings and see the face of our President, you will know he is in pains. We are all in pains, we are supposed to solve the problems and we are driving ourselves as fast as we can, to solve them.”
Dalung also said the President and the ministers were aware of the problem of hunger in the country.
He said it was not true that the government had abandoned the youths.
He beret-wearing minister said, “The youth question has been on the front burner of this government. You said Nigerians are hungry, we know and we are working on it.”
Fashola, a former Governor of Lagos State, asked Nigerians not to lose hope, saying 2017 would be a better year.
Fashola also announced that an MoU had been signed with the CBN to assist the two meter manufacturing companies cleared by the ministry to get funds.
On his part, Mohammed said the Federal Government was determined to ease the hardship in the country.
Towards this, he said more than one million Nigerians would soon benefit from the Bank of Industry micro-credit scheme planned for the nation’s youths.
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