Africa must cut reliance on food imports, says Nigerian billionaire
Tun Tun Adu, former president of Nigeria’s Senate and son of the late dictator General Sani Abacha, has warned that Africa’s hunger crises will get worse if the world does not support the continent’s farmers.
He said he would be prepared to use force to make sure this would occur.
“I will be prepared to use the country’s military and security forces to achieve what we want,” he told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.
“We’re going to have to go to the streets, the people have to go to the streets, and you know I’m saying the truth when I say that we will not allow anyone to starve again.”
His comments follow the worst famine in 60 years in the Dangme West district of Nigeria’s Plateau state, caused in part by poor harvests in the region.
Mr Adu also dismissed a suggestion by British Prime Minister David Cameron that a solution to the food crisis could be found in Africa’s agricultural potential.
But he said Africa should focus on reducing Africa’s reliance on imported food sources. He urged the continent’s food producers, who are responsible for 30% of global food production, to take urgent action.
“Some African countries that have the capability to produce more food should not export everything to the world market. We should give them incentives so that they can produce more food in Africa,” he said.
“Let us take this example of maize. If we produce more maize than the demand, Africa will prosper.”
He said he would be prepared to use force if required, pointing to recent ethnic violence in Nigeria as proof that some people were not ready to tackle Africa’s hunger problems.
“As far as possible, we should use force. I will not rule it out if necessary,” he said.
The situation has deteriorated, with at least 10,000 people killed and a further 23,000, mostly children, left destitute by the famine.
Nigerians are already seeing their maize stocks dwindle under the strain of the food crisis, with more than 70% going to meet the nation’s maize imports – almost a third of its requirement.
The BBC’s Ngozi Okonjo wrote: “What is happening in Nigeria is the worst famine in 60 years.”
The government has warned that