The federal government has commenced distribution of 26,404 bags of maize, millet and sorghum to vulnerable Nigerians in Sokoto.

Abubakar Kyari, the minister of agriculture and food security, handed over the items and inaugurated the distribution on Sunday in Sokoto.

Mr Kyari said the effort was to cushion the economic hardship faced by citizens in the state, adding that the gesture would cover all 36 states and Abuja.

He explained that the exercise fulfilled President Bola Tunibu’s promise to reduce the impact of the country’s current economic downturn.

“It is also in line with the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’ of Mr President as he rightly approved the release of 42,000 metric tonnes of assorted food from the National Strategic Reserve,” he said.

Governor Ahmad Aliyu said the current economic hardship was not peculiar to Nigeria but a global challenge.

He commended Mr Tunibu for the gesture and the choice of Sokoto to flag off the exercise.

Mr Aliyu assured the Federal government that the stipulated distribution guidelines would be strictly observed and urged the committee members to ensure judicious distribution of the items.

He charged the committee members to be transparent in all dealings and pledged to advocate for the federal government’s efforts to ameliorate peoples’ hardships through the provision of more palliative support.

NEMA director-general Zubaida Umar said that, based on the allocation table, Sokoto would receive 10,120 bags of maize, 11,960 bags of sorghum, and 4,324 bags of millet.

“Based on the directives of Mr President, 20 per cent of the food items due for each LGA should be given to religious organisations and three per cent to boarding schools in the local government areas,” she said.

Ms Umar said the committee’s membership included representatives of the State Security Service, Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, faith-based organisations, and the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees.

Others were the Nigerian Red Cross Society, women’s associations, persons with disabilities groups, youth associations, principals of boarding schools, civil society organisations and the media.