Hundreds of feeding points have surfaced in Katsina State with women, children and able-bodied men forming long queues to collect food from philanthropists.
In Katsina metropolis, our correspondent counted several feeding points where hundreds of poor residents queue up to collect food mostly at the houses of good Samarithans.
Many observers have blamed the situation on the acute starvation, hunger and poverty suffered by majority of residents of the state due to several factors.
These factors as observed by some analysts include widespread poverty, destitution and unemployment due to the harsh economic situation in the state as well as insecurity that has displaced thousands from their villages and farmlands.
The state government had closed IDP camps in Katsina town since 2020, now the IDPs roam from one feeding point to another to collect food and alms from philanthropists.
The popular feeding points in Katsina include Babbar Ruga, Rafindadi, Dutsen Safe, Shagari Low-cost, Kofar Sauri, Kofar ‘Yandaka, GRA, behind PDP office, Kerau, Filin Fives, Filin Samji, ATC and Dahiru Mangal’s House among others.
In an interview, a food distribution driver from the house of a popular philanthropist in Katsina, Malam Abubakar, said he takes food to 100 feeding points within Katsina metropolis and environs on Tuesdays and Fridays.
He estimated that he distributes food to 300 thousand people across the feeding points within Katsina metropolis.
The situation has become an attacking point for critics of the state government who include the former Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Mustafa Inuwa who resigned his position this year to contest the governorship election.
In an interview with a foreign media outfit, Inuwa lamented that “our people are in a critical situation, life is too expensive for them”.
“Many of our people now go to bed with empty stomachs, I got reports from our villages where most people only take diluted pap and drink water.
“Even the well to do in those areas mostly take local fura made of guinea corn either in the morning or at night.
“Even during the recent Sallah period, many households did not cook anything for Sallah, we are not even talking of slaughtering a ram”, Inuwa said.
Another vocal critic of the Aminu Bello Masari administration, Comrade Abdulmumini Shehu Sani observed that hunger has become an epidemic in the state as many people that were financially stable have now been reduced to beggars.
He said “Most of our people can no longer feed their families, that is why in every major street in Katsina, you see people on long queues collecting food from philanthropists.
“Last two years about six people died in a stampede on a queue to collect food at the house of Alhaji Dahiru Mangal.
“Every morning, afternoon and evening, men, women and children trek long distances to join the food queue at Batsari Junction, GRA, behind PDP office, at Kerau, Dahiru Mangal’s House and other places to collect food.
“This situation is caused by many factors such as poverty, insecurity, corruption, squandamania, and wasteful spending of money from the public treasury”, Sani alleged.
He called on well-meaning Nigerians from all parts of the country and international humanitarian agencies to bring food aid to Katsina to cushion the effect of hunger on the people.
When asked about the high rate of poverty, destitution and out-of-school IDPs begging on the streets of Katsina, the Chairman of Katsina Local Government Council, Alhaji Aminu Ashiru Kofar-Sauri said no government in the history of Nigeria has come up with as many social welfare programs as the current APC administration.
He cited the Tradermoni, market money, Conditional Cash Transfer and several other social intervention programs introduced by the Buhari administration which are implemented with counterpart funds and supervision by the Masari administration in Katsina State.
He said the Masari administration has also built many new schools and renovated and furnished existing ones and employed more teachers in order to encourage school enrolment in the state.
“You would agree with me that school enrolment has greatly improved since the Masari administration came on board.
“The administration also carried out several youth and women empowerment programs to alleviate poverty, therefore in all fairness we are trying our best to improve the welfare of our people”, Ashiru said.