COVID-19: Ministry of Agric inaugurates JTTT on movement of foodstuff
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Friday, inaugurated Joint Technical Task Team, JTTT, to facilitate the movement of foodstuff and agricultural inputs across the country during this period of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Nanono, did the inauguration at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
The JTTT is made up of the following members; Assistant Inspector General of Police, Operations, Austin Agbonlahor, – Chairman, ACG Bunu Modu, Nigeria Security & Civil Defense Crops – Member, Umar Farouk Mudi, National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) – Member, Representative, Nigeria Army – Member, Mr. Chris Isizuzo, National Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ), Ibikunle Tajudeen Barruwa, National President, NURTW – Member, and Zubariu Abdullahi, Director, Planning and Policy Coordination, FMARD – Secretary.
The JTTT is expected to facilitate the free and unhindered movement of food, livestock and agricultural inputs and farmers’ movement across the nation during the lockdown and 2020 farming season to avoid the looming food crises while the pandemic rages.
Some of the terms of reference the JTTT will work with include work with relevant agencies in the States and Local Government Areas to develop a window that will facilitate the free and unhindered movement of food, livestock, and Agricultural inputs without compromising the security and health of the nation.
To issue out clear instructions to all the security personnel in the three internal security outfits of police, civil defense and the army on the need to allow the free and unhindered movement of foodstuff, livestock, and Agricultural inputs to all parts of Nigeria.
To work with the National Union of Roads Transport Workers (NURTW), to adequately educate its members in ensuring that vehicles conveying foodstuff, livestock and Agricultural inputs (excluding passengers) are allowed to pass and;
To ensure that adequate information clarifying the controlled movement of foodstuff, livestock, and Agricultural inputs is disseminated by the media to food transporters and security personnel.
Nanono said: “Numerous reports have been received by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the problem faced by transporters of food, livestock and agricultural inputs in different parts of the country as a result of the unavoidable enforcement of restriction orders have resulted in food scarcity and negatively impacted on the nation’s agricultural production.
“To facilitate the free movement of food, livestock, and agricultural inputs nationwide to avoid food shortages and ensure minimal impact of COVID -19 on this year’s farming season.”
While recalling on an emergency meeting with the Ministers of Defence, Interior, and Police Affairs, the Minister said following deliberations from the meeting and articulated a common agenda towards ensuring the minimal impact of COVID-19 on this year’s farming season in line with the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari, which has led to the inauguration of the Joint Technical Task Team.
Meanwhile, responding on behalf of the JTTT, Chairman of the Committee, Assistant Inspector General of Police, (Operations), Austin Agbonlahor, pledged the committee’s commitment to the tasks ahead and promised to deliver on its mandate.