The number of food insecure people in the three northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, that have been under the attack of Boko Haram for the past eight years is likely going to grow to an estimated 6.9 million people during the next lean season if no appropriate measures are taken, a report has indicated.
This was contained a Cadre Harmonise report, a result of research work carried out and presented by the Food Crises Prevention Network (RPCA).
RPCA is an international Network for co-operation and co-ordination under the political leadership of the Commissions of the Economic Community of West African States, ( ECOWAS) and West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).
Presenting the report recently in Abuja during the 32rd annual meeting of the organisation, Issoufou Baoua of Cadre harmonise, painted a picture of the “grave danger” which the food crises in the North East, portends for the whole of West Africa region.
It will be recalled that the Nigerian government had officially declared a nutritional emergency in the state of Borno in June 2016, one of the most hit by the insurgency, due to the magnitude of the humanitarian crises that was palpable in almost all the Internally Displaced Persons Camp ( IDPs) there.
“Several regional organisations and International partners have issued calls for action. However, the crisis has gained relatively little attention on the international scene and it’s response remains largely underfunded. Less than one third of the Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria has actually been funded ($78.5 million).
“The 2017 plan aims to raise $1 billion to ensure vital life -saving assistance for 6.9 people,” the report said.
Beside the situation in the North East, the report also makes projection that about 16 states in the Northern Nigeria may be hit by the food insecurity. This is said to be so, because the fear of terrorism spill over has continued to restrict farming activities in the whole northern region.
In a related development, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh has inaugurated a 34-member committee to address issues concerning food Security and nutrition in the country.
According to the minister, the setting up of the committee has become necessary because food security and nutrition are critical and topical with regards to threat of malnutrition to the most vulnerable members of the society.
“Records available indicate that 37 per cent of children in Nigeria are malnourished. So, begin with catering for the needs of the most vulnerable demographic group in the society – pregnant women and children. Take your campaign to the local governments.
“Go beyond nutrition matters and begin to deal with issues of food security and health. Take the matter seriously. You will not only be doing duty but also humanitarian service,” he stated.
Ogbeh, before the inauguration, tasked the committee to examine and evaluate the current situation and plight of those affected by malnutrition and lead poisoning of agricultural produce.
The committee is also to consider policy issues and proposed recommendations to the menace and possible legislation to be implemented.
He emphasized though the task will not be an easy one with the caliber of members and their experience, he is hopeful they would deliver.
Members of the committee were drawn from development partners and relevant MDAs under the ministries of Agriculture, Health, Women Affairs, and Science and Technology.