25 million malnourished as Nigeria ranks first in Africa – Expert

The National Coordinator of Academic and Research Network for Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (ARN-SUNN), Prof. Kola Matthew Anigo, lamented the increase in malnutrition in Nigeria, saying that about 25 million of Nigerians are battling with hunger.

Anigo made this known Tuesday, while delivering his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 52nd annual general meeting and scientific conference of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) holding in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.

Anigo said, the insecurity in the country poses a huge threat to Nigeria’s attainment of global nutrition target by 2025.

Speaking on the theme of the conference, “Bridging the Malnutrition Gap: Nutrition Multisectoral Commitments for Sustainable Nutrition in Nigeria”, Anigo said, Nigeria ranked first in Africa and second in the world in the global chart of malnourished children.

He noted that banditry, terrorism and kidnapping have contributed to food insecurity, saying Nigeria may not attain self sufficiency in food production if insecurity is not nip in the bud.

“Nigeria ranked number one in Africa and number two in the world in terms of number of children malnourished.

“25 million people are hungry while 9.3 million people suffer from acute food insecurity.

“There is need to transform agricultural production and food systems as key drivers of the economic growth we need the right system, right environment and right information in line with the magnitude of nutrition problems both at national and sub-national levels”, he said.

The national President of Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Prof. Wasiu Akinloye Afolabi, in his opening remark, called on the Federal government to intensify efforts aimed at increasing food production.

According to him, malnutrition poses a serious threat to the health of Nigerians and the survival of the economy.

“To bridge the gap in malnutrition, a multisectoral approach must be adopted to tackle the multifarious causes of malnutrition involving all stakeholders, including government at all levels, development partners, non-state actors and the organized private sector.

“Government and stakeholders must recognise the fact that each sector must work to address nutrition mandates of their sectors if malnutrition must be reduced to the barest minimum and also nurture our commitment to act multi-sectorally to address the challenges of malnutrition in Nigeria”, Afolabi said.

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