In the latest statistics released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on November 16, inflation figures for the month of October stood at a whopping 14.23%. This figure is the highest that has been recorded in the last 13 months.
All-item inflation was the highest in Sokoto, Edo, and Akwa Ibom while Oyo, Taraba, and Jigawa recorded the slowest rise which connotes that only Oyo, Taraba and Jigawa had a more palatable rise in inflation when compared to the peak in states such as Sokoto, Edo and Akwa-Ibom.
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One of the parameters which have shot up the total inflation figures is food inflation. Food is a major and basic life need of every living individual, it, therefore, constitutes an important component in the measurement of how bearable life is for the ordinary citizen.
According to the report, the composite food index which comprised common food items singularly rose by 17.38 per cent in October 2020 compared to 16.66 per cent in September 2020.
The sharp increases in the prices of bread, cereals, potatoes, yam, and other tubers, meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, alcoholic and food beverages, and oils & fats alone contributed to this rise in the food index which drove inflation up sharply.
In comparison, the ‘core inflation’, without the prices of volatile agricultural produce (all items less farm produce), stood at 11.14 percent in October 2020.
In a vastly agrarian economy like Nigeria, that food price induced inflation would still be a problem begs the question. Bar the excuses which the government has espoused as the reason for this discouraging inflation figures, the western land border which the Federal Government has stubbornly refused to open is a major cause of rising (food) inflation. The food items which are imported at cheaper rates were banned from entry through the border since August 2019.
And while the figures reflect the current situation which many Nigerians are grappling with, the government have continued to blame the rising inflation on the after-effects of the #EndSARS protests. To worsen the effect of this on the Nigerian populace, latest figures released also show that the economy contracted.
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The effect of the economic contraction was further highlighted as the economy is yet to recover from the effects of the coronavirus and the continued plunge in crude prices.
All of these effects have been what Nigerians have had to bear lately. While the government looks on helplessly, the people also feel like there is no way to brave the tempest than to endure the pain.
Some of the protracted pain that Nigerians have had to bear with respect to negative economic downturns was recently let out of the bag briefly as the #EndSARS protests paused across the nation. Widespread report of incessant lootings related to burgling food items and other home essential needs points to the enduring which Nigerians have had to bear for too long.
It is now established that there is a direct connection between hunger and revolt or widespread breakdown of law and order. The only time in recent times when the country witnessed a more encumbered round of lootings was during the COVID-19 lockdowns in Lagos, Ogun and a few other states. Some Nigerians, even hoodlums, who made ends meet from daily hustles began to break into shops and houses immediately the lockdown went into effect.
If there is one thing that the government should take away from the NBS released figures and the recent happenings with regards the lootings, it is that if nothing else pushes Nigerians into the streets to demand their inalienable rights, the lack of food and hunger will finally turn Nigerians against their exploitative leaders.
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