© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
150m Nigerians don’t have food security, says activist
Gbolagade Ayoola, Chairman of Voices for Food Security (VFS), says 150million Nigerians are currently suffering from acute adult malnutrition, child stunting, child wasting and child mortality –all of which are linked to food insecurity in the country.
Ayoola said the latest World Hunger Index published by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) indicates that as of last year (2017), with an index value of 25.5 Nigeria ranked 84th among 119 countries in the category of “Serious Hunger Prevalence”.
“This implies that about three quarter of its population (about 150 million people) presently suffers from acute adult malnutrition, child stunting, child wasting and child mortality –all of which are linked to food insecurity in the country,” he said at the palace of Samai’la Muhammad Mera, Emir of Argungu, when he led other food activists on a courtesy visit to drum support for the passage of Right to Food Bill by the National Assembly.
He stressed that the universality of the need to make food a fundamental right exists in the number of countries of the world that have adopted the concept of food as a right or passed a right to food Bill as the basis for implementing food policies.
“These include the following: Bangladesh – Article 15; Brazil – Article 227; Colombia – Article 44; Congo – Article 34; Cuba – Article 8; Ecuador – Article 19; Ethiopia – Article 90; Guatemala – Article 51 (minors and elderly), Article 99 (feeding and nutrition); Haiti – Article 22; India: Article 47; Iran Article 3; Malawi – Article 13; Mexico – Art 27; Nicaragua: Art 63; Nigeria Article 16 (wherein not justiciable); Pakistan – Article 38; Paraguay – Art 53; South Africa – Chapter 2, Section 27; Sri Lanka – Art 27; Uganda – Objective 14; Ukraine – Art 48. In this case Nigeria cannot be an exception.” He said
According to him, it was as a result of the need for a suitable legal environment for right to food to take a firm root in Nigeria, that the bill was introduced at the National Assembly as far back as 2010 during the Sixth Assembly.
He said, “The Bill, which has suffered a great setback during the Sixth Assembly (2007-2011), and also suffered a similar fate during the Seventh Assembly (2011-2015), is now at the Committee stage during this present Eighth Assembly (2015-2019), having passed the Second Reading at the Federal House of Representatives and the First Reading at the Senate as at June 2016.”
The Emir, while responding to a detailed presentation on the Right to Food Bill expressed surprise that Nigeria is yet to have food as a fundamental human right enshrined in the constitution.
He commended the right to food bill campaign coalition for the efforts at pushing the bill under such discouraging condition since its introduction to the 6th Assembly.
Mera referred to the right to food bill campaign as a patriotic endeavor strategic to the growth of the agriculture sector and the survival of this nation, noting that the bill will take care of almost 80 percent of the concerns surrounding food security.
He assured the coalition of his unflinching support for the bill and his readiness to reach out to all critical stakeholders within his sphere of influence to mobilize support for the passage of the right to food bill by the 8th National Assembly without further delay.
The visit had in attendance District Heads from the Argungu Emirate Council, ‘Sola Kolawole and Ropo Egbeleke of TREE Initiative, Dominic Samson of the Development Exchange Centre among other members of the Right to Food Coalition.