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Breaking: 40m Nigerians go to bed hungry in a day – CS SUNN

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By Joyce Remi-Babayeju

Nutrition Experts from the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, CS—SUNN, and the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, NSA, have jointly disclosed that at least 40 million in Nigeria in a day go to bed hungry as a result of the astronomical price of food items.

The President of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, NSA, Professor Wasiu Afolabi gave this hint yesterday in Abuja at a Media Roundtable organized by the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, CS SUNN, and Nutrition Society of Nigeria, NSA, on the Emergency on Food and Nutrition Situation in the Country.

Professor Afolabi stated that the 40 million Nigerians who may not have food to eat in a day could also be attributed inadequate funding and investment in nutrition became of lack of political will.

The Nutrition Expert further stated that the Nigerian Nutrition Indicator also shows that 79% of households in Nigeria are hungry.

Speaking on the state of emergency on the food and nutrition situation in the country, Afolabi called for more advocacy to appeal to the conscience of policymakers on the importance of nutrition for Nigerians, particularly children and mothers.

According to him, most of our women are already folic acid deficient, making it expedient to invest in all non nutrition sectors to get 89% of results.

He emphasized that if the next generation of Nigerians are left hungry, then the hungry children will become like parasites and would become a problem for the country in the near future.

Professor Afolabi therefore called on the Federal Government to create nutrition departments in all government parastatals, Ministries Departments and Agencies, MDAs,

He stressed the need to address the issue of nutrition multisectorally to ensure that all the various sectors can meet their mandates and address their nutrition issues.

He said , ” The agriculture sector to look at the rising cost of food in the country, particularly as it affects low-income earners, affects women and children and the elder
who are the most vulnerable.”

Professor Afolabi however called on the agric sector to produce foods with nutritional implications with micronutrients to make people healthy.

“The issue is ,are we meeting our micronutrients’ intake, micronutrients are not for us to be seen, they are big things that come in small packs, he explained.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of CS SUNN, Mr. Sunday Okoronkwo has emphasized that nutrition is the cornerstone of the health and development of the nation, as it is equally fundamental to the growth and development of children, adolescents and ultimately adults.

“Nutrition is linked to improved infant, child, and maternal health, stronger immune systems, safer pregnancies and childbirth, lower risk of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and increased longevity.”

Okoronkwo said,” Food insecurity and malnutrition remain the major concern in Nigeria, as he disclosed that currently. 26.5 million Nigerians are projected to be food in-secure in 2024.

Okoronkwo disclosed that the 2024 March Cadre Harmonisé (CH) analysis, has revealed that an estimated 4.8 million people are at risk of severe hunger during this year’s lean season in the Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States which are the worst hit.

Out of the 36 states in the country, only seven states namely, Osun, Ebonyi, Kogi, Bayelsa , Zamfara and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT already have nutrition departments.

Owing to the critical state of food insecurity in the country caused by high cost of food items, food insecurity, low funding and lack of political will the CS SUNN has called on the Federal Government support nutrition initiatives such financing and setting up the Nutrition Investment Trust Fund.

Furthermore, the Civil Society Organization, urged the government to sustain emergency food assistance for the nutritional protection of the vulnerable groups in hard—to- reach areas, particularly in Internally Displaced Person’s Camps, IDPs in lean areas.
We believe that taking these measures and urgently would position the country in the right track to ending food insecurity and malnutrition in Nigeria, Okoronkwo said.

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