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Bravo BUA, but we need another Villa visit

We caught sight of him in a video that first made the rounds on September 15, this year.  I’m referring to the short clip showing…

We caught sight of him in a video that first made the rounds on September 15, this year. 

I’m referring to the short clip showing Alhaji Abdussamad Isyaku Rabiu, the President of BUA International, talking to newsmen after his visit to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, at the Aso Rock Villa. 

The renowned tycoon disclosed that he had a meeting with the president, in order to discuss his growing cement production line, the forthcoming launch of his new plant and his plan to crash the price of cement to N3,500 per bag, as opposed to whatever it is today.  

The following morning, I looked through the nation’s dailies and there was no sign of this news. Days turned to weeks and finally after more than two weeks, the news made it to our newspapers. Even then, as a result of the press release issued by BUA group to Nigerian media.

BUA crashes cement price to N3,500 per bag

NIGERIA DAILY: Will The New Price Of BUA Cement See The Light Of Day? 

Why did such an important news item fail to command headlines the day after Alhaji BUA had said it? 

The simple answer is that cement price isn’t the one thing Nigerians want to see crashed. 

If the BUA president had announced the crashing of rice, spaghetti and sugar, no media house would wait for an official release before announcing it. 

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I dare repeat here that Nigerians are hungry. Food is the one thing the majority of our compatriots want to see and hear about. 

The other day, my friend told me about how some men living close to her sister’s house came to beg for the ‘ruwan danwake’ her sister was throwing away. They wanted to drink it like a gruel, in order to keep their backs straight in the face of hunger. 

Another friend said she was passing by the place of a “dan wake” maker when she saw a long queue and wondered how popular the lady selling it was.

But when she asked why the queue was long, she was told that those were not patrons. They were beggars waiting to collect the boiling water and drink. 

This is how bad the hunger situation is, in some parts of Nigeria today. 

Yes, there are people for whom crashing the price of cement is great news, but the majority of Nigerians do not belong to this category. 

Everyday, we read about high inflation rates on all commodities, especially foodstuffs, and without a corresponding rise in income or other means of earning a living. 

The removal of fuel subsidy multiplied whatever economic woes Nigerians were battling before. And today, a huge percentage of our population is truly living from hand to mouth, as the saying goes. 

In fact, people calling to seek help are no longer asking for money now, they rather beg for food items to be bought and sent to them instead. 

In 2019, according to the National Monetary Poverty Line, 40.1 per cent of Nigerians were poor. But by last year, 2022, the figure has risen to 63 per cent of the population, and they are said to be multidimensional poor. 

Add to that the ill-conceived and poorly-executed naira redesign policy, the fuel subsidy removal and you get a good picture of what percentage of our compatriots are now wallowing in abject poverty.  

And the problem with poverty is it breeds both hunger and anger. 

As we all know, an angry population sometimes takes to crime, just to hit back at a society that seems to have alienated them. 

We have already seen how the ill-planned border closure threw border communities into hardship and how they in turn trooped into crime. 

The result was the kidnappings and banditry that rose to record levels during the last administration and remains to haunt us till today. 

This is why I’m making a special appeal to Abdussamad Isyaku Rabiu to please make his way back to the Villa with a special request. He should meet President Tinubu and ask to be allowed to import rice (haven’t the home-grown rice pyramids disappeared?) make more spaghetti and sugar and then crash their prices. 

He must invite his brother and fellow Kano man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, to meet the Nigerian president and ask to specifically bring in, or produce food items and then crash their prices to help feed their countrymen. 

Luckily for us, these two gentlemen come from families that are well known for their philanthropy. Alhaji Abdussamad’s late father, was a renowned Islamic scholar and philanthropist, while Alhaji Aliko’s mother, Hajiya Mariya is a supporter of Islamic causes whose legendary generosity is well known in Kano and beyond. 

The two tycoons are themselves philanthropic through their foundations, and Nigerians cannot forget the great donations they made in order to combat the COVID pandemic three years ago. 

It is with this in mind that I hope they will not turn down an appeal to meet President Tinubu and ask to crash the cost of foodstuffs, in order to ease the pain of hunger in our country. 

I hope we will sight them at the Villa soon, bearing the good tidings of approval from Mr President.  

The truth is, we cannot afford to ignore the twin evils of hunger and anger in our land.  

Any such mistake will lead to more crime and insecurity. Those who celebrate the crash in cement price might happily continue their buildings and real estate businesses, but it doesn’t guarantee that they’ll have the peace and harmony they need to enjoy their good fortune. 

The price of insecurity is living in perpetual fear.

 

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