Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that over 23 million children are malnourished in Nigeria while more than 10 million are also at the risk of malnourishment due to imminent food insecurity.
UNICEF’s nutrition specialist for Bauchi Field Office, Mrs. Philomena Iremi, stated this, on Thursday, during a workshop organised by the UNICEF in collaboration with Bauchi State Television on Ethical Reporting Training and Media Dialogue for media practitioners.
Iremi stated that of the over 39 million children in Nigeria, over 23 million representing about 60 per cent are malnourished while about 5.5 per cent of these were acutely malnourished.
Iremi said that the situation was not only unacceptable but also intolerable and urged that urgent measures should be taken to address the looming food insecurity in the country to avoid the situation from deteriorating any further.
“Recent researches have shown that over 60% of Nigerian children are malnourished. We are talking about over 23 Million children here, most of them in the rural areas. This makes them vulnerable.
“Looking at recent development in the country that threatens food security, it is important that we step up efforts to protect the children before this intolerable situation further deteriorates”, Iremi said.
In his presentation, Mr. Onche Odeh said that the survival and protection of every child was a collective responsibility and the media must play a leading role in ensuring that child protection takes its rightful place as national priority.
Earlier, Mr. Samuel Kaalu, the UNICEF communication officer for Bauchi Field Office, said that the workshop was aimed at “enhancing the participants knowledge and consciousness on child right issues and to stimulate response that would guarantee the protection of the child in all ramifications”.
The two-day workshop, which draws participants from Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Plateau, Taraba, and Jigawa states, was declared open by the officer in charge of UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, Mr. Drissa Yeo, who urged the participants to take advantage of the training to further hone their reportorial skills and contribute even more meaningfully in reporting issues affecting children and other sectors of the society.