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Peter Obi’s misleading conversation on Ukrainian grains

Peter Obi’s misleading conversation on Ukrainian grains
March 04
22:09 2024

Nigerian politician Peter Obi recently ignited controversy with his remarks regarding Ukrainian grain imports. While Obi expressed his disapproval of Nigeria receiving grains from a war-torn nation, his statement deserves a closer look.

Obi’s comments, instead of fostering productive discourse, risked being divisive and misleading. Here’s why:

Nigeria Supports Ukraine by Accepting Grain: By accepting Ukrainian grain shipments, Nigeria isn’t just receiving sustenance, it’s extending a helping hand to a nation ravaged by conflict. The Black Sea Grain Deal, brokered by the UN and Turkey, facilitated the export of millions of tons of Ukrainian grains, a lifeline for many countries.

UN World Food Programme Relies on Ukraine: The UN World Food Program, the world’s leading humanitarian organization, significantly increased its grain purchases from Ukraine (from 50% to 80%) after the war began. This highlights Ukraine’s crucial role in global food security.

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Grain Shipments Alleviate Hunger in Africa: The Black Sea Grain Initiative resulted in over 725,000 tons of wheat reaching African nations like Yemen, Ethiopia, and Somalia, facing severe hunger crises.

Nigeria Benefits from the Initiative: Closer to home, 25,000 tons of grains were delivered to Nigeria’s troubled northeast region through the World Food Program, thanks to the Black Sea Grain Initiative. This program offered vital assistance to a region grappling with militant insurgency.

In conclusion, Peter Obi’s statement regarding Ukrainian grain imports lacked nuance.

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While Nigeria should strive for self-sufficiency in food production, accepting Ukrainian grains doesn’t diminish Nigeria’s standing.

On the contrary, it demonstrates international solidarity and allows Ukraine to contribute to global food security efforts, including providing much-needed assistance to Nigerians in the northeast.

Kerley writes from Port Harcourt.

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