As the world gear up to mark the 2018 Children’s Day, the Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM Nigeria) has expressed worries over the wanton killings going on across the country, especially by suspected terrorist-herdsmen and urged the Federal Government (FG) to put a stop to it, because its effect compounds children nutrition status.
According to a press statement issued in commemoration of the 2018 Children’s Day, MeCAM chairman, Mr. Remmy Nweke noted that the destruction of farmlands and killings by the terrorists-herdsmen have reduced the number of farmers; while some have been killed, others have fled their farmlands.
The deaths have also left many children motherless, aggravating the already low percentage of exclusive breast fed children in Nigeria, which according to UNICEF stood at 15 per cent.
Conflicts and resulting mass displacement, he said, often results in increased prevalence of acute malnutrition and mortality.
MeCAM, therefore calls on Federal Government to pay more attention to children in Internally Displaced camps with a view to reducing malnutrition and stunted growth through vitamin A supplementation.
Although MeCAM noted that Nigeria has made progress in micronutrient deficiency, UNICEF says half of the children aged 6-59 months do not receive Vitamin A supplementation. Whereas, some 11 million under age children are said to be stunted especially in the North East and North West part of the country, as well as the poorest sectors of the society.
MeCAM believes that this year’s theme “Creating safe spaces for children: Our collective responsibility,” is apt because intervention by relevant authorities will lead to the protection of children and their mothers which will translate to less crises and interruption in the lives of the children that will aggravate malnutrition and stunted growth of children in the country.
Children, MeCAM insisted have a right to life and food.