Dangote’s UN Appointment To Fight Global Malnutrition As Gombe Gets On Red Alert Over Acute Malnutrition, A Paradox

The Oasis Reporters

September 24, 2019

Prof Akinwunmi Adesina, Alh. Aliko Dangote

The United Nations Secretary General,
António Guterres, made some strategic appointments as part of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement committed to fighting malnutrition in all its forms. The appointment is of 27 global leaders to combat malnutrition in the world.
Two eye catching names on the list are that of Aliko Dangote, recognized by Forbes as Africa’s richest billionaire and Akinwunmi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank and former agriculture minister in Nigeria.

The paradoxical angle to the appointments is that Aliko Dangote, the president of Dangote Group is Africa’s richest man, but comes from a part of Nigeria where millions of children roam the streets as food beggars with many of them going to bed hungry. Although there strictly may be no beds for the child. More often than not, they sleep anywhere they can find space in the open, even if it were very cold.

Akinwunmi Adesina as Agriculture Minister tried very hard to revolutionize food production under President Goodluck Jonathan, until they left office, and the former minister eventually emerged as the ADB president.

According to a statement released by SUN to this effect, the leaders will meet on September 24 to take a decision on the continuation of the SUN Movement into its third phases (2021-2025).

The leaders will also make commitments to achieve its objectives – looking toward the 2020 Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit.

One in three people suffer from malnutrition the world over and 149 million girls and boys are stunted, a trend the group is set up to stop and reverse.

The 27 people appointed to the group are:

Akinwumi ADESINA (Nigeria),
President, African Development Bank
Aliko DANGOTE (Nigeria)
Chairman and CEO, Dangote Group
Manal AL ALEM (Jordan), Chef
Reem Ebrahim AL-HASHIMI (UAE),
Cabinet Member and Minister of State for International Cooperation
Mercedes ARÁOZ FERNÁNDEZ (Peru),
Vice-President, Republic of Peru
CEO, Save the Children International
Cherrie ATILANO (Philippines),
Founder and CEO, Agrea Agricultural Systems International Inc.
Alicia BÁRCENA IBARRA, (Mexico)
Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
Executive Director, World Food Programme
Martin CHUNGONG (Cameroon),
Secretary General, Inter Parliamentary Union
Josefa Leonel CORREIA SACKO (Angola),
Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission
Annette DIXON (New Zealand)
Vice President Human Development, World Bank
Chris ELIAS (United States of America)
President of Global Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Shenggen FAN (China),
Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute
Henrietta H. FORE (USA)
Executive Director, UNICEF and Chair of the SUN Movement Lead Group
Sophie HEALY-THOW (Ireland),
Youth Leader
Daniel KABLAN DUNCAN, (Côte d’Ivoire),
Vice President Côte d’Ivoire
Monica Katebe MUSONDA (Zambia),
Founder and CEO, Java Foods
Jakaya KIKWETE (Tanzania)
Former President United Republic of Tanzania, Kikwete Foundation
Shinichi KITAOKA (Japan),
President Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Maryam MONSEF (Canada),
Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, Canada
David NABARRO (United Kingdom),
Sustainable Development Facilitator, 4SD
Sania NISHTAR (Pakistan),
Founder and President, Heartfile Foundation
Inia SERUIRATU (Fiji),
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fiji
Feike SIJBESMA (The Netherlands),
CEO, Royal Dutch DSM
Gunhild Anker STORDALEN (Norway),
Founder and President, EAT Foundation
Gerda VERBURG (The Netherlands),
UN Assistant Secretary-General and Coordinator of the SUN Movement.

Great fear recently arose in Gombe State following the discovery of some severely malnourished children in some parts of the State who are facing death any moment if immediate attention is not given to them due to
severe acute malnutrition.

A visit to the Gidan Magani Centre of the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) showed that the attention of Gombe State Government “is urgently needed to address the situation after it was discovered that the Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) used to revive the acutely malnourished children have been non available for more than four months quotes a report published weeks ago.

According to Mohammed H Bawa, the Nutrition Officer of Gombe Local Government Area, since 25th January, 2019 when they had the last supply of the RUTF, the supply only resumed 19th July, 2019.
A newspaper correspondent gathered that more worrisome is the fact that the last supply may be the last following issues of lack of counterpart funding from the State Government and the likely withdrawal of UNICEF from the RUTF programme.

Mohammed H Bawa told Journalists, Civil Society Organizations and the International Society for Media in Public Health (ISMPH) that he took stock of five hundred cartoons of the RUTF on Monday 22nd July, 2019 after its release.
He said the stock may last for only two months in his centre considering the high patronage of the centre from within and especially from outside Gombe, the State capital.
While at the site, our Correspondent saw several mothers with their malnourished children waiting to be attended to at the CMAM site. Some of the women who visited the clinic for only routine immunization, were referred to the CMAM centre following the ignorance of the parents over the status of their severely malnourished children.
Seventeen month old Ahmadu Mohammed, who was brought in by his mother, Fatima Mohammed, weighed 5.2kg and 29.2 in length when they first came to the centre in the morning from Kurba village, in Yamaltu-Deba Local Government Area of the State.
Incidentally, Kurba is the hometown of the current Speaker of the Gombe State House of Assembly, Honourable Ibrahim Abubakar Sadiq.
According to Fatima, Ahmadu’s mother, she had been giving her child traditional treatment when she noticed the change in her child since April this year but had to come to Gombe after being informed of the centre.

Another severely malnourished child, Fatima Babangida, nine months old, who was brought to the centre by her mother, Fatsuma Babangida, expressed ignorance of the exclusive breastfeeding formula during her ante-natal days. She said she had been feeding the baby with whatever they eat in the house for a very long time.
The case in Gombe State has become very dangerous following the non release of counterpart funding for appropriated nutrition activities from the State Government coupled with the fact that UNICEF, a major financier of the RUTF may no longer be funding the programme.

Also, volunteers working in the centres who ensure interface between parents at different communities have disappeared following their disappointment at non offer of permanent employment after working for over six months.

Gombe State is in Nigeria’s north east with so much vast land. Turning the land into a bastion of food production by intelligently using its people has been the major challenge of leadership in many states of the region, which is Aliko Dangote’s north.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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