According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), one out of every three households in Nigeria is unable to afford the cheapest nutritious diet, which is estimated to cost N1,687 per household daily. UNICEF reports that in the past year, the cost of food has increased by 23 percent, making it more difficult for families to provide their households with meals that are nutritious. In the past week, the National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria released its Multidimensional Poverty Index Report, which found that 133 million people in Nigeria live in poverty, which means that more than half of Nigerians are unable to meet basic needs like food, education, and medical care.
In the midst of rapidly deteriorating poverty, high inflation, and the disastrous effect of the floods, it is expected that millions of people in Nigeria will suffer from severe hunger and chronic malnutrition, a condition that leads to so many other diseases and death. According to a report published by UNICEF titled ‘Nutrition Situation in Nigeria,’ the organization estimates that the number of children under the age of five who die as a result of malnutrition is already at 100 per hour, and it is expected to continue to rise.
Poor households are at the highest risk of malnutrition.
Nemat Hajeebhoy, who is the chief of nutrition for UNICEF Nigeria, noted that households that are poor and cannot afford meals that are nutritious have the highest risk of being malnourished. She emphasized that Nigeria’s future is severely put at risk by the country’s lack of food security. During a recent meeting of stakeholders in Abuja, she stated that children who suffer from severe acute malnutrition have nearly 12 times the risk of death compared to children who are healthy if they do not receive treatment.
If the Nigerian government does not take immediate action, the agency will issue a strong warning and estimates that by the end of the year, an estimated 14.7 million children will be suffering from moderate to severe malnutrition. Furthermore, it added that by 2023, the nation’s food security, as well as nutrition, may be negatively impacted by a number of factors, with children bearing the cost of the effects, which include severe flooding, the loss of agricultural output, and inflation.
Nigeria is among the hotspots for food insecurity in the world.
Furthermore, in a 2022 combined report, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme, and the United Nations all said that the food crisis had gotten worse in Nigeria, which is one of the worst places for food insecurity. They also said that the number of hungry people would continue to rise sharply. It also affirmed that there are still hotspots in Nigeria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Yemen are on “highest alert” because they are home to almost a million people who are suffering from starvation and death on a daily basis (IPC Phase 5 “Catastrophe”) and where high degrees of mortality and malnutrition could develop if nothing is done right away.
An additional report from April, the FAO stated that 90,4 million Nigerians were in danger of going hungry and that the prevalence of malnutrition in several northern states had increased by more than double. Additionally, there has been an increase in both poverty and inflation, both of which have contributed to the country’s worsening crisis regarding the cost of living. The inflation rate in Nigeria reached a new high of 21.09 percent in October, surpassing the previous high of 20.77 percent, which was reached in September.
Unprecedented flooding has contributed to the poverty rate in the country.
Moreover, Flooding in Nigeria this year has been the worst in a decade, killing 600 people and displacing nearly two million. One of Nigeria’s largest farms, Olam Rice Farm in Lukubi Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, was destroyed along with other farmlands totaling millions of hectares. The farm was estimated to be worth N140 million. Global statistics show that, as a result, nearly 20 million Nigerians are currently experiencing food insecurity. According to information provided by UNICEF, there are also 12 million children who are living in extreme food poverty.