Excerpts of interviews given by President Mamadou Tandja to the BBC on the hunger situation in Niger.
There is no famine in Niger. The people who are saying there is a famine either have a political interest or an economic interest in saying there is a famine.
There are three signs of a famine:
- when people are leaving the countryside and going to live in shantytowns
- people are leaving the country
- and there are beggars all over the place
Those three things do not exist in Niger at the present time.
If there was hunger in our country, the villages would have been abandoned.
Go to Niamey, Maradi, Zinder and Tahoua and see for yourself. The people of these places still live there. They have not migrated.
Have you seen people begging on the streets? You have seen us. Do our bodies show any signs of hunger?
Since October of last year, we have suffered poor rains and because of the locusts, there was a bad harvest. But we have bought food which we sell to people at subsidised price.
Do not listen to ramblings that do not make sense. There is a lot of politics in it.
Also there's this new modern way of raising funds by organisations set up by the UN in different countries of the world. They shout, they scream. They say there's hunger.
Look at the situation in Darfur. They went there and made a lot of noise about the situation. And a lot of money was raised, again and again, and then nobody receives or gets the money that's been raised.
It has been said that $45m have been donated to Niger. But to the current day, we have only received $2.5m. The rest we only hear about.