Determined to tackle headlong the increasing rate of malnutrition among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country, the Senate, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency released monies from the Victims Support Fund to contain the situation.
The upper chamber accordingly tasked the government on the need to immediately raise funds from the private sector with a view to supplementing the monies from the T.Y. Danjuma-led Presidential Victims Support Fund.
The decision to so do was reached sequel to consideration of a motion titled: “Challenges of food security and malnutrition of children in the IDPs,” sponsored by Senator Baba Kaka Garbai, (APC, Borno Central).
The senate also urged the Federal government through the ministry of finance to immediately release necessary funds to immediately arrest this developing situation by freeing up a strategic framework for the release and distribution of monies from the service wide vote appropriated for lDPs in the 2016 budget.
It directed the Senate Committee on Special Duties, States and Local Governments to carry out a fact finding visit to the troubled States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to find out the challenges of the lDPs.
The Upper Chamber urged the FG to coordinate immediate fund raising with the private sector to sustainably ensure that no one more Nigerian child or woman dies of malnutrition, irrespective of their situation.
It also commended the state governments in the affected: states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe as well as the host states of Gombe, Bauchi, Taraba, etc for their efforts so far in accommodating and feeding the lDPs.
Earlier in his motion, Garbai explained that he was moved to bring up the issue before the legislature because of alarming report by UNICEF that between January and May, 2016, it admitted and treated 47, 423 children from the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe were treated of acute Malnutrition under the same period.
He said the report had indicated that it would take just about $349.9m to adequately provide the affected population with basic living condition that support life for at least three months.
He stressed that the organisation in a statement signed by its head of mission in Nigeria, Ghada Hatim, described the situation as “a catastrophic humanitarian emergency,” adding that over 550, 000 people face severe food shortages and require immediate food assistance.
“These severe food shortages are directly linked to the inability of farmers in the affected region to access or cultivate their farms in the last three years, the inadequate access to relief materials and the need to get more institutions involved in the provision and distribution of the needed relief materials to the people in the IDPs camps.
“To mitigate the sufferings in the North-east of the country the National Assembly appropriated in the 2016 budget the sum of N10 billion under the service wide vote for relocation and resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons nationwide.”
In his remarks, Senate President Bukola Saraki urged those who pledged monies to the victims support fund project during the former president, Goodluck Jonathan to redeem their pledge so as to solve the problems of malnutrition confronting the IDPs across the country.