Malnutrition Poses Greater Threat to Nigeria, Ndume Warns

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  • Senators wives donate to IDPs

TobiSoniyi in Abuja

The Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume at the weekend warned that improper handling of the malnutrition crisis in the North-east is capable of causing a larger war than the one being fought against the insurgents, BokoHaram.

Speaking in Abuja at a cocktail held as part of activities to mark the official launch of Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari’s, Get-Involved Initiative established to tackle malnutrition in war ravaged North-east, Ndume said the crisis was getting worse.

He said: “The situation in Borno State particularly in the North-east generally is very serious. If we don’t do something concrete now on these children that are growing up malnourished, sick with hunger, poverty and malnutrition in Borno state, then we are going to have another war that is worse than the BokoHaram.”
The Senators’ Wives Forum (SWF) has contributed towards fortified foodstuffs and body care products for weaned infants and children at the various Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in some parts of the country.

The Forum, represented by HajiaHadiza Ali Wakili and Mrs. Louis Gyunka from Bauchi South and Nasarawa North Senatorial Districts respectively, and the Executive Coordinator of the Forum, Ms. InimfonEtuk, made the donation during the launch of the “Get Involved” component of the Future Assured Initiative, organised by the wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, in Abuja.

The Get Involved campaign was meant to rally contributions from Nigerians to address heightened incidence of malnutrition in IDPs camps, said Ms. InimfonEtuk.

According to Ndume, “So I want you to give the wife of the president all the support. As estimated, if we don’t do something, for sure more than 50,000 children are going to die of malnutrition. That is beside the people that are dying right now because of hunger in Borno State.”

He thanked Mrs. Buhari for showing concern to the children and appealed to mothers everywhere to emulate what she was doing.

“And I want to call on you the wife of Mr. President to do more because what you have seen coming out of Bawa is a tip of the iceberg of what is happening in Borno state,” he stated
The Borno State Governor, KashimShetima said the wife of the president took the challenge of the crisis in the area head-on by mobilising resources to solve the problem.

He said: “We cannot thank you enough. You deserve special commendation for your giant strides towards assisting the less endowed in our society. She has so far given thirty trucks of assorted commodities to our people. We want to call on other well-to-do Nigerians to come out to give their widows might to her cause.”
Speaking at the occasion, Mrs. Aisha Buhari said she was saddened by the magnitude of malnutrition facing the country.

Noting that the magnitude of the problem can’t be solved by one stakeholder or group, she said experts on nutrition have already articulated the current situation, the efforts being made and the future direction.
“This is the time for all of us to once again renew our intentions and commitments towards ending the problem of malnutrition facing our country”, she said
Mrs. Buhari also called on traditional/religious leaders, private sector, civil society and the media to be part of the Get-Involved Initiative.

The cocktail party was attended by many wives of state governors and cabinet members.
The BokoHaram onslaught has displaced millions of Nigerians including women and children, leading to creation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps mainly in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

Scarcity of consumables and drugs in the region has led to the death and malnutrition of some of the children. Some United Nations (UN) agencies including the World Food Programme have said more than 4.5 million people were starving and in dire need of food in the area while the number could double within a short period.