Nigerian government has been urged to ensure ordinary citizens have access to food during the festive period and beyond in order to keep them healthy and reduce crime in the country.
Making the call during the distribution of food items and other support materials in communities across Benue State recently, President of Idoma International Carnival (IIC), Prince Edwin Okhai, said such a gesture by the government would go a long way in ameliorating the suffering of the masses.
According to him, COVID-19 has greatly hampered the lives of many people and therefore the government must support indigent citizens in every way possible, including through the supply of regular food items.
He said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected every sector of the economy.
"No gainsaying that the people at the grass roots are the most affected at this time which is the end of the year and that is why food must be made available to them.
"Though as a group we have brought together people of various religions to benefit from our philanthropic gesture, we need the government to rise to the occasion to make food available to the people in large quantities in order to reduce tension families go through and bring down crime rate.
"We will continue to partner with relevant stakeholders to support members of the public in the best ways we can."
Months of coronavirus lockdown and decades of armed conflicts have combined to put food out of the reach of many ordinary Nigerians in recent times.
Rising inflation rate and cost of transportation have also contributed to the hikes in prices of basic commodities, including food items across Nigeria.
Experts say the situation could get worse in the coming weeks if the government fails to nip the crisis in the bud.