By Lawrence Olaoye
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has inaugurated National Council on Nutrition and charged state governors to domesticate the policy in their states.
This came as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and governor of Zamfara state, Abdulazeez Yari, lamented that Nigeria was being rated behind India among the countries with worst malnutrition records.
According to Osinbajo, the Council was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in February following the convening of the first Presidential Stakeholders’ Forum on the Child Nutrition Situation in Nigeria.
The Council, he maintained was expected to spearhead and oversee our interventions in addressing Nigeria’s nutritional challenges. He said “The policy, if fully implemented, will ensure significant improvements in several specific national indices, including the reduction of stunting in under-5 children, reduction of wasting in children, reduction of anaemia in pregnant women, reduction in adult obesity rates, and an increase in the rates of exclusive breastfeeding.”
He continued “The National Council on Nutrition has its work cut out, in implementation, collaboration, and communication. We bear the burden of very high expectations – Nigeria must make speedy and visible progress in its fight against hunger, malnutrition and other nutritional challenges. As part of this we must ensure that the new National Food and Nutrition Policy is quickly domesticated at State level in every State of the Federation and the FCT.
Let me reiterate that the work of this Council is an important one. Our success or failure will make a huge difference in how quickly Nigeria is able to achieve not only the Sustainable Development Goals, but also our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.”
Also speaking to newsmen after the inauguration, Yari said “The council is about all stakeholders working together so that we can get out of this trouble.
“I’m here to represent the governors and I suggested to Mr. VP the need to bring governors on board in other to show them the position we are in so that we can work together. But we cannot do this without the resources that us the bottomless.
The issue of malnutrition has also to do with poverty and we need to put more resources even though government alone cannot do it. But still government can be the driving force so that any other person coming to support either the development partners or the private sector will the impact of what government is doing and then we can join hands to work together.”
Asked whether the government was planning to declare an emergency on malnutrition, the NGF chairman said they would strategize and brainstorm in how to tackle the challenge in collaboration with envelop meant partners.