Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Monday blamed the high rate of malnutrition in the country on inadequate food production and insufficient purchasing power among low income Nigerians.
Ambode, who was represented by Mrs Yetunde Odejayi, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Governor, said this in Lagos at the 2019 Children’s Day Celebration organised by the Ministry of Education.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Children’s Day is set aside by the United Nations in 1964 to celebrate the importance of children and provide policymakers and families the opportunity to consider policies and programmes to enhance their development.
The day is being commemorated on May 27 every year and the theme of this year’s celebration is: “End Malnutrition: Protect the Future of the Nigerian Child”.
According to the governor, malnutrition is one of the issues responsible for stunted physical and mental development among children.
“According to UNICEF, an estimated 2.5 million children in Nigeria suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition but only two out of every 10 children affected is currently reached with treatment.
“Also, seven per cent of women of child bearing age also suffer from acute malnutrition in the state.
“The state government is taking steps to address this challenge through intervention programmes in the agricultural sector to achieve our food security objectives.
“We are hopeful that these steps will ensure food sufficiency and fight malnutrition in the state,” he said.
He encouraged the children to believe in themselves by becoming the best they could and continue to be a source of joy to their families, the state and the country.
The wife of the Governor, Mrs Bolanle Ambode, who was represented by Mrs Kemi Durosimi-Etti, urged parents, guardians and teachers to show love and affection to children.
“We need to teach our children the fear of God, nobility of character, hardwork and good morals that will make them become responsible adults in the society.
“It is a sacred duty to care about our children’s overall development for the good of the society,’’ she said.
Contributing, Mrs Bunmi Adekanye, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, thanked the state government for its huge investment in the education sector.
The highlights of the programme included march past by the Boys’ Scout, Boys’ Brigade, Gilrs’ Guide, Red Cross, pupils and students of primary and secondary schools as well as drama and dance performances.