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VP Shettima Calls For Concerted Efforts To Tackle Food Insecurity In Nigeria

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By Gloria Ikibah
Vice President, Kashim Shettima, has called on Federal, states and local governments to work together to turn the tide against hunger in Nigeria.
The Vice President stated this on Thursday in Abuja at the inauguration of the House Committee on Nutrition and Food Security.
Shettima was represented by the Special Assistant to the President on Public Health Focal person on Nutrition Office of the Vice President, Mrs Uju Rochas Anwukah.
He commended the House for the timely initiative to address food shortages, this he said demonstrates a clear understanding and the urgency and complexity before Nigeria.
Anwukah said: “As we gather here today to address the multi faceted issue of food security and the looming nutritional dangers facing our nation, let us remember that we are all threats in this intricate tapestry of transformation. Each of us play a unique role, from policy makers to farmers, from civil society to private sector partners, to move the policies into actions.
“The renewed hope administration under the visionary leadership of President Bola Tinubu is determined to tackle this food shortage and nutritional challenges that we face today. This challenge not only can be changed but will be changed for the interest and progress of our country”.
”As a government and as a people, it is not time for accusations, it is not time to cast blames, it is definitely not time for politics. It is the time to exchange ideas. It is the time for commitments. It is the time to take responsibility. It is a time for patriotism. Let us, Ladies and gentlemen, more than ever, work together to turn the tide against hunger and malnutrition. Let us sew the seed of change and reap the harvest of wellbeing, prosperity and resilience for all Nigerians”, she said.
While inaugurating the committee, Speaker of the House, Rep. Tajuddeen Abbas, lamented that over 35 million children under the age of five years are currently impacted by malnutrition.
According to him, among the 35 million, 12 million are already stunted; three million are wasted while 23.5 million suffer from anemia.
He further stated that an additional 17.7 million individuals are facing hunger, with 2.6 million children confronting severe acute malnutrition in 2024 adding that among women of childbearing age, 7% experience severe acute malnutrition.
He said: “These figures may exacerbate due to the current food inflation rate, which stands at about 33.7% (according to the Central Bank of Nigeria).
“This Committee is very crucial to the vision of the House to ‘be responsive, results-oriented and effective in performing its constitutional mandate towards the security and welfare of Nigerians.
“Nigeria, like the rest of the world, is experiencing a food crisis, exacerbated by climate change, rising inflation and pervasive insecurity. Hence, the decision of the House to set up a Committee that would be dedicated to fashioning legislative measures actions to tackle the menace of food insecurity and malnutrition affecting our people.
“According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) about 26.5 million Nigerians would be grappling with high levels of food insecurity in 2024, while the country is said to have the second highest burden of malnutrition in the world, with 32% children under the age of five stunted or chronically malnourished”.
The Speaker further that the World Food Programme’s September 2023 publication of the ‘Nigeria Hunger Map’ estimates that 24.9 million Nigerians are in an acute or critical stage of hunger, categorized as an emergency, while 85.8 million Nigerians have insufficient food consumption.
Among this population, he continued, 47.7 million Nigerians resort to crisis-level or above-crisis-level food-based coping strategies.
“The above data paints a very gloomy picture requiring urgent legislative action. This is particularly so given that some of the causative factors are issues within the legislative competence of the House to deal with.
The food and nutrition crisis affecting us as a nation is partly caused by global warming and climate change, pervasive insecurity across the country which prevents farmers and herders from engaging in their various agricultural activities, poor irrigation, outdated land tenure system, crude and traditional farm practices on subsistence levels as well as a myriad of other challenges”, he added.
Similarly, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Atiku Bagudu, restated the government’s commitment to puting measures in place to ensure adequate nutrition and food security for Nigerians.
“We have the National Food Security Council Chaired by no less a person than the Vice President, Kashim Shettima. We are participants in the United Nations Food System Transformation as well as the institutional alignment through the Ministry of Agriculture being recognised as the Ministry of Agriculture and that of Food Security.
“This is commendable. We recall that in the last administration under former President Muhammadu Buhari, a national security council was created chaired by the President himself and I was privileged to be the Vice Chair of that council.
“What led to it is the recognition that food security is not an agriculture issue, not a health issue, not an environment issue, not a physical security issue. It is all of it. So we need to have stakeholders around the table so we can appreciate, we can do better. The same thing with nutrition.
“The House of Representatives is helping in addressing the challenges. Mr President has recognized these issues and is committed to addressing them.” Mr Bagudu said.
On his part, the chairman of the House Committee on Nutrition and Food Security, Rep. Chike Okafor, commended the House leadership for setting up the specialized Committee which focuses on food security and nutrition.
“This is the first time in the history of the Legislature in Nigeria that the leadership of the House thought it necessary to set up a distinct and exclusive Committee for greater legislative attention to critical interventions in the cross-cutting issues of food and nutrition. The creation of this Committee would serve as a swift response to the present economic realities, especially the current unaffordability of basic foods in Nigeria arising from uncontrolled inflation and scarce means”. Hon Okafor said.
He also said that the House would soon convey Food security Summit as part of deliberate measure to address food challenges in Nigeria.
Stakeholders at the meeting commended the House for setting up the food and nutrition committee saying that it would bring legislative backing to food security in Nigeria.
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Reps South Wes Caucus Condemn Activities of Acclaimed Yoruba Nation Agitators

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By Gloria Ikibah
The South West Caucus of the House of Representatives has condemned in strong terms the recent activities carried out by acclaimed Yoruba Nation Agitators, which have caused unrest and pose a threat to the peace and stability of our region.
This was contained in a statement signed  by Leaderof Southwest Caucus/Deputy Chief Whip, Rep. PAdewunmi Oriyomi Onanuga, Chairman, Southwest Caucus, Rep. Abiodun James Faleke and Secretary General, Southwest Caucus, Rep. Taofeek Ajilesoro on Monday in Abuja.
The statement reads: “As representatives of the people, we stand firmly against any form of unlawful behavior and violence that undermines the rule of law and the unity of our country, Nigeria. It is essential that all grievances and demands be addressed through peaceful and lawful means, respecting the rights and well-being of all citizens.
“We urge all parties involved to engage in constructive dialogue, prioritize the welfare of our people, and work towards finding peaceful and lasting solutions to any grievances,” said Rt. Hon.Dr Abiodun James Faleke, Chairman of the South West Caucus of the House of Representatives. “Violence and lawlessness have no place in our society, and we call on all individuals to uphold the principles of peace, unity, and respect for the rule of law.
“The South West Caucus remains committed to upholding the values of democracy, justice, and unity in our region and the country at large. Together, we can overcome challenges and build a better future for all”.
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How I Made A Vow 34 Years Ago Never To Watch Tv Again – Pope Francis

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Pope Francis has disclosed that he made a vow 34 years ago to stop watching television.

The revered clergyman said he placed himself on the self-imposed ban after stumbling across a smutty show.

He explained that the vulgar viewing was so bad for his conscience that he had to place a TV ban on himself.

The Supreme Pontiff said he hasn’t watched the box for almost 34 years.

He said: “I was watching television in the lounge with my fellow priests.

“It was July 15, 1990, and some scenes of an adult nature, to put it delicately, were being shown — something that was not good for the heart.

“Nothing risqué, of course, but when I went back to my room, I said to myself, ‘A priest cannot look at such things.’

And so, the following day, during the mass for the feast of the Madonna del Carmelo, I vowed never to watch television again.”

His Holinesss, 87, said that one of the last things he watched properly on TV was the fall of the Berlin Wall – in 1989.

He, however, stated that there have been a couple of exceptions to his self-imposed sanction.

Speaking via his new book “Life: My Story Through History”, Pope Francis said, “Only very occasionally do I allow myself to watch: for example, when a new president is sworn in, or I watched briefly once when there had been a plane crash.

“I switched it on, too, to follow Sunday mass while I was being treated at the Gemelli University Hospital in Rome.

“But I didn’t watch the coronation of Charles III, the new British king, for example, or many other important world events. Not out of disdain, but because I made a vow.”

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Clark wants special taskforce to rescue Chibok girls

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Pa Edwin Clark, Leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has urged the Federal Government to appoint a special taskforce to ensure the rescue of the remaining Chibok girls held by Boko Haram

The elder statesman made the call while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Monday at a ceremony to mark the Chibok girls’ 10th anniversary in captivity.

While expressing displeasure over the failure of past administrations to rescue the girls, Clark urged President Bola Tinubu to leave no stones unturned to secure the release of the girls.

“About 90 of them are still missing after 10 years. This should be a source of worry and concern to any government.

“Tinubu should appoint a special taskforce with brave soldiers, who are competent and transparent and not nepotic.

“Their main duty will be to travel at all times to Sambisa forest or where ever these citizens are, to look for these girls and rescue them.

“In giving this advice, I also want to add that a time limit should be given to them to carry out this task.”

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