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25 million Nigerians at risk of starvation in 2023 – Report

By Linus Aleke, Abuja
The Nigerian Delegation to the Community Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), on Tuesday, said, that no fewer than 25 million Nigerians are at risk of starvation in the second and third quarter of 2023.

These negative and frightening hunger statistics are contained in the Nigerian Country Report, presented at the ongoing 2023 First Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament, in Abuja.

Quoting United Nations (UN), statistics, Hon. Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu, who presented the report on behalf of 33 members of the delegation, noted, that in March 2023, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), in its quarterly report
projected that nearly 25 million Nigerians are at risk of facing hunger between June and August of 2023.

The Nigerian Country Report to ECOWAS Parliament added that out of the 17 million people who are currently food insecure, three million are in the north-east states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.

Hon. Ikpeazu, also, observed that with this adverse report, the level of hunger in Nigeria is bleak.

“While food security is a global challenge, and considering the impacts of COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine and Russia, in Nigeria, the continued conflict by herders and attacks by terrorists, climate change, and inflation are key drivers of the trend,” The report said.

On what Central Government has done to mitigate the consequences of the horrifying data, the delegation, said, “To lessen the impact of the food insecurity in our domain, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has come up with a number of programmes to facilitate increased agricultural output. Among them is the Agro-Processing, Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS), program aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and improving value addition along priority value chains in the federating states”.

Additionally, the report disclosed that the Nigerian Government has renewed its commitment to Japanese counterpart in tapping technologies including information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the improvement of farming systems in Nigeria.

The synergy, Hon. Ikpeazu, said, will tackle the myriad problems confronting agriculture with a focus on Regenerative Agriculture, Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture, Market Oriented Agriculture, and other crosscutting pillars including capacity building, e-extension and inclusion of (the youth, women and people living with disabilities).

The report also lamented the negative unemployment induces in the country, saying, “experts have predicted that the unemployment figures are expected to worsen with an increased rate of 40.6 per cent in 2023, due to decreased economic growth and the inability of the nation’s economy to absorb about four to five million graduates yearly, into the labour market”.

The experts, the report said, further predicted that the unemployment rate may hit 40.6 per cent in 2023.

Hon. Ikpeazu, said, Nigerians currently are focused on the incoming government that will be sworn-in in the month of May 2023.

The President–elect’s manifesto, she noted, is expected to create jobs
for the teeming youths in the country.

“Also, it projected that Nigeria needs to create at least 3.6 million net new jobs annually to reduce the current high unemployment rate to about five per cent by 2033, a period of 10 years,” the report said.

The First Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS parliament, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Hon. Idris Wase, is the leader of the Nigerian 33-Member Delegation to the Community Parliament.

The 15 ECOWAS Member States are obligated to present their country reports at the First and Second Ordinary Session of the Parliament, every year, to enable the regional Parliament to collate primary data on the states of affairs in the community, with a view to proffering solutions.

The Country Report often focuses on specific sectors such as political, security, and economic situations, amongst other subheadings.

Like other countries reports, Nigeria Country Report calls for serious concern.

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