Skip to main content

Nigerian Children Showing Signs Of Malnutrition Under Buhari Government —Report

The report also explained how the average cost of making a pot of jollof rice went up from N8,595 to N9,311 at the end of Q2 2022, an 8.3 percent increase.

A Report by SBM Intelligence has shown how the rate of malnutrition has increased among children in Nigeria since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in 2015.


According to the report, information and data were gathered from different interview sessions conducted in 10 states across the country to examine how inflation has aggravated food scarcity in the country, particularly among young children.


The report reads in part: "Interviews were conducted in 10 states across the country (Abuja, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo, Kogi, Lagos, Rivers and Sokoto) to examine if the present economic condition has affected the diet of children. That is to say, are children now seen with signs of malnutrition?


“Respondents in Sokoto confirmed that children are beginning to show signs of malnutrition in the region. One of the respondents had this to say: ‘The average Northerner does not care so much about the food he eats or whether the food is a balanced diet. They just make sure there is something in their stomach. They do not care if the food given to the children is balanced as well. The recent economic situation, especially the increase in prices of foodstuff has made the situation worse. So will say yes, more children are now showing signs of malnourishment. They look pale when they come to school.


"Judging from this respondent's statement, we can infer that more people have fallen below the poverty line. A respondent in Kogi, a petty trader, said that her husband, who is a university lecturer, has not been paid his salary for months because of the ongoing ASUU strike, hence the family is struggling to feed.


“From her point of view, her family can still afford food for now, but she does not know what will happen if the ASUU strike and nonpayment of salaries continue till the end of the year. She also mentioned that children are increasingly being seen in the streets with signs of malnutrition.


"Those who hitherto could easily provide their families with three square meals a day are now struggling to keep up because of economic hardship. Some have dropped to two meals, but most have been reduced to one. This was according to a respondent in Edo State. A staff member of the state university in Edo said that he currently has challenges feeding his family as he has not been paid for seven months.


“According to him, some of his colleagues are suffering the same fate. ‘So why will you not see children with malnutrition when there is not sufficient money for a balanced diet?’ he asked.


"Some of our respondents in Abuja and Lagos said that the present economic condition is not the cause of the signs of malnutrition being seen in some children. According to a respondent, a doctor, many children had not been eating properly for a while, so the current economic situation reflected by the continuous rise in food prices only serves to compound what was already an issue. He further explained that prior to now, poor Nigerians have been having issues with their diet, but those who were getting along could begin to show signs of malnutrition.


"A teacher in Port Harcourt said that she observed that her students have been coming to school with reduced rations of food and snacks.


“’Some don't even come with food or snacks at times, and the food that some of the poorer children bring to school does not look nutritious.’ She noted that the poor kids she teaches have been losing weight lately.”


The report also explained how the average cost of making a pot of jollof rice went up from N8,595 to N9,311 at the end of Q2 2022, an 8.3 percent increase.


It was noted that Bauchi had the highest cost at N11,600, followed by Wuse II at N11,300. The noticeable pattern here is that the Northern states had a higher cost of making a pot of jollof rice despite their farming and livestock rearing occupations.


“This trend is accounted for by increased insecurity in those states. Traders who purchase from the rural markets are boycotting those areas. Transportation costs have greatly increased, not only because of fuel shortages but also because of the risk involved in travelling those kidnap-infested roads,” it said.