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Acute Food Insecurity May Hit Nigeria, 17 Other Countries

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Acute Food Insecurity May Hit Nigeria, 17 Other Countries

By: Michael Mike

Acute food insecurity is set to increase in magnitude and severity in 18 hunger “Hotspots”, among them Nigeria, a new United Nations early warning report has revealed.

The report released on Thursday spotlighted the urgent need of assistance to prevent famine in Gaza and the Sudan, and further deterioration in the devastating hunger crises in Haiti, Mali, and South Sudan.

It also warned of the lingering impact of El Niño and the looming threat of La Niña that risks bringing further climate extremes that could upend lives and livelihoods.

The report found that many hotspots face growing hunger crises and highlights the worrying multiplier effect that simultaneous and overlapping shocks are having on acute food insecurity. conflict, climate extremes, and economic shocks continue to drive vulnerable households into food crises.

The report warned that 2023 is likely to mark the first year since 2010 in which humanitarian funding has declined compared to the previous year, but it still represents the second highest funding level ever for humanitarian assistance.

FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu said: “The daunting prospects highlighted in this report should serve as a wake-up call to all of us. We need to spearhead the shift from responding to crises after they occur to more proactive anticipatory approaches, prevention and resilience building to help vulnerable communities cope with upcoming shocks. Acting ahead of crises can save lives, reduce food shortages and protect livelihoods at a much lower cost than a not timely humanitarian response.”

On his part, the WFP Executive Director,
Cindy McCain: “Once a famine is declared, it is too late – many people will have already starved to death. In Somalia in 2011, half of the quarter of a million people who died of hunger perished before famine was officially declared. The world failed to heed the warnings at the time and the repercussions were catastrophic. We must learn the lesson and act now to stop these hotspots from igniting a firestorm of hunger,” adding that: “We have proven solutions to stop these crises in their tracks, but we need the resources and the political will to implement them at scale before more lives are lost.”

The report – ‘Hunger Hotspots – FAO-WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity’ – issued on Thursday by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) called for urgent humanitarian action to save lives and livelihoods and prevent starvation and death in 18 hotspots – comprising a total of 17 countries and one regional cluster of four countries (drought-affected Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe) – where acute hunger is at a high risk of worsening from June to October 2024.

The report said the ongoing conflict in Palestine is expected to further aggravate already catastrophic levels of acute hunger, with starvation and death already taking place, alongside the unprecedented death toll, widespread destruction and displacement of nearly the total population of the Gaza Strip.

In mid-March 2024, famine was projected to occur by the end of May in the two northern governorates of the Gaza Strip, unless hostilities ended, full access was granted to humanitarian agencies, and essential services were restored. Over one million people – half the population of Gaza – are expected to face death and starvation (IPC Phase 5) by mid-July. The report also warned of broader regional ramifications of the crisis, which risk exacerbating the already high food security needs in Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic.

The report stated that conflict and displacement also continue at an alarming pace and magnitude in the Sudan, where time is running out to save lives and the lean season looms, with the outlook for food production is bleak, and there is a rapidly shrinking window to support farmers before the main planting season ends and the rains begin, limiting access to the hardest-hit communities.

Since the previous edition of the Hunger Hotspots report (October 2023), the Central African Republic, Lebanon, Mozambique,
Myanmar, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and
Zambia have joined Burkina Faso,
Ethiopia, Malawi, Somalia and Zimbabwe in the list of hunger hotspots, where acute food insecurity is likely to deteriorate further during the outlook period.

The report provides concrete country-specific recommendations on priorities for anticipatory action and immediate emergency response to address existing and emerging needs to save lives and ensure predictable hazards do not become full-blown humanitarian disasters.

The report stated that immediate humanitarian action delivered at scale will be critical to prevent further starvation and death – particularly in Mali, Palestine, South Sudan, the Sudan and Haiti. But the report warns that to effectively address and prevent famine, emergency agriculture – in addition to emergency food and cash assistance – must be provided in a balanced manner. Additionally, more investments are needed in integrated solutions across multiple organizations that can help to meaningfully tackle food insecurity and reduce reliance on emergency food assistance.

Acute Food Insecurity May Hit Nigeria, 17 Other Countries

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ActionAid Nigeria Condemns the Abduction and Arrests of Peaceful Protesters on Democracy Day

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ActionAid Nigeria Condemns the Abduction and Arrests of Peaceful Protesters on Democracy Day

By: Michael Mike

ActionAid Nigeria, a local Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) affiliated with ActionAid International, a global federation of social justice groups with a presence in over 70 countries, has condemned the clampdown by security operatives on peaceful demonstrations by some Nigerians on Democracy Day.

A statement on Wednesday by the Country Representative of ActionAid Nigeria, Andrew Mamedu read: “We witnessed a disturbing crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy activists. In Lagos, one of the leaders, Juwon Sanyaolu, was forcefully abducted by suspected Department of State Security (DSS) operatives, and his whereabouts remain unknown.

“In Abuja, students and activists from Activista who went out to advocate for good governance were also arrested in Gwagwalada and are currently placed in detention.

“We condemn this blatant suppression of constitutional and democratic rights, and demand:

  • The immediate release of Juwon Sanyaolu and all arrested activists
  • An end to the repression of peaceful protests and respect for our constitutional rights
  • An investigation into the abduction and arrests, and accountability for those responsible.”

Mamedu said: “President Tinubu’s speech today highlights the importance of democratic values, human rights, and the protection of freedom of expression and assembly. Yet, his government’s actions contradict these principles. We urge the President to practice what he preaches and ensure our rights are respected.

“The Nigerian Community of Activists for Good Governance which ActionAid Nigeria is part of will not be silenced. We will continue to demand justice, equality, and democracy for all Nigerians. The true meaning of this Democracy Day is not just to celebrate the past but to commit to a better future. We will hold the government accountable for their actions and ensure that democracy is not just a historical fact but a living, breathing reality.

“We remember the sacrifices of pro-democracy activists, including our current president, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who fought for our democratic rights, and we will continue to honour their legacy by standing up against oppression. We will not be deterred by intimidation and violence but will persist in our struggle for a better Nigeria.

“We call on all Nigerians to join us in demanding an end to the crackdown on peaceful protests and the immediate release of all arrested Activista members. Together, we can build a Nigeria where democracy is not just a celebration but a way of life.”

ActionAid Nigeria Condemns the Abduction and Arrests of Peaceful Protesters on Democracy Day

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How Zulum demonstrates rare leadership in Borno

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How Zulum demonstrates rare leadership in Borno

By: Yusuf Adamu

Borno state governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, has again demonstrated an unequal leadership prowess in the governance of the state by transmitting power to his deputy, Hon. Usman Kadadur. Such a move by the governor since coming to power in 2019 has put Professor Babagana Umara Zulum on a pedestal of trust and honor. 

The governor has continued to show the world that power is transient, and as such, leaders must learn to appreciate the fact that harmonious working relationships with their subordinates are key to governance. 

This is, to my knowledge, the second time the governor is doing this. On Friday, he wrote to the assembly stating his desire to hand over
power to his deputy, Alhaji Umar Kadafur, in an acting capacity, as he left for Hajj in the Holyland of Saudi Arabia. 

The executive communication to the Borno State House of Assembly (BOHA), which was read by the Speaker, Honourable Abdulkarim Lawan, during an emergency session on Friday, speaks volumes about the kind of relationship the governor has with his deputy. This is a demonstration of trust, which is lacking in some states of the federation, and Borno has remained a point for others to emulate. 

The speaker, Honourable Lawan, said that the letter is in accordance with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, adding that Kadafur will act from June 10th to July 8th, 2024. He further explained that the move is necessary to ensure the continuity of governance and the smooth running of the affairs of the state in the absence of the governor. 

This also demonstrated the cordial working relationship and understanding between the executive and legislative arms in Borno State. This singular act of the governor has once again brought to light the desire of the governor to leave by his constant statement that he remained the servant of the people and will always abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic in discharging his duties as governor. 

*Yusuf Adamu is the former Adviser to then Borno state governor and current VP, Kashim Shettima

How Zulum demonstrates rare leadership in Borno

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ACReSAL Takes Center Stage in Adamawa State’s Development Journey

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ACReSAL Takes Center Stage in Adamawa State’s Development Journey

By: Michael Mike

The Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) team, on a joint World Bank/Federal Government of Nigeria Implementation Support Mission, made a stop-over assessment of implementation activities in Adamawa state. The team was warmly received by three commissioners of the state, who expressed their commitment and support to the project.

“We have only two things in Adamawa today, ACReSAL and other projects,” declared Alh. Mohammed Sadiq, Commissioner for Environment, Adamawa state. “ACReSAL has become a household name in Adamawa state, and I am very happy to be part of this laudable initiative. The journey of ACReSAL will never finish without Adamawa state reaping its maximum impact.”

He noted that hundreds of people call him daily to testify that the ACReSAL Project has transformed their lives completely. “Communities that have never seen any development in Adamawa before are now flourishing, courtesy of the ACReSAL Project. We are now enjoying different impactful and livelihood enhancement activities because of the ACReSAL Project.

Over 20,000 farmers have been trained on regenerative agriculture and landscapes restoration across 21 local government areas in the state. Some farmers have been provided with the use of one hectare of land each for a period of 10 years, free of charge, along with agricultural inputs. Additionally, many communities now have access to clean solar-powered boreholes for drinking water, and we are witnessing a significant improvement in dry season farming.”

Alh. Audu Tanko Ayuba, Commissioner for Water Resources, remarked, “I have seen lots of projects carried out by ACReSAL in Adamawa state. ACReSAL is one of the best sustainable developmental programs currently in the state, and I assure you that all the necessary support the project needs is available.” He assured the team of the state and stakeholders’ willingness to collaborate for the success of the project.

On his part, Prof. David Finchiwa Jatau, Commissioner for Agriculture, Adamawa state, emphasized the importance of land restoration in all sectors of production. “Some communities never knew what dry season farming was, but today, I am happy to report that the ACReSAL project has made dry seasoning farming possible in communities in Adamawa state.” He expressed his excitement for the ACReSAL Project, noting the state’s full support.

Abdulhamid Umar, the National Project Coordinator for the ACReSAL Project, expressed his delight with the level of support and collaboration among the key lead implementing ministries of the ACReSAL Project in Adamawa state, evident in the presence of the three commissioners. “I feel really fulfilled with the success stories emanating from Adamawa state, which means the ACReSAL Project can bring more investment to the state.”

Dr. Joy Iganya Agene, Task Team Leader for the ACReSAL Project, announced that ACReSAL will support farmers and agro-business initiatives through its Community Resolving Fund (CRF) loan scheme. “We will provide loans to 140 communities in Adamawa state to support their agro-business initiatives. She encouraged the Adamawa State ACReSAL Project Management Unit (PMU) to scale up the intervention and monitor the projects closely to ensure impacts on communities, sustainability, and effective utilization of the funds.” She thanked Governor Fintiri, the commissioners, and the entire team for their efforts to ensure the project’s success in the state.

The ACReSAL project has received widespread support from stakeholders, and its success is expected to have a lasting impact on the communities in Adamawa state.

ACReSAL Takes Center Stage in Adamawa State’s Development Journey

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