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WFP to spend $2.5bn to fight hunger in Nigeria

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

The World Food Programme (WFP) has announced that it has pledged to spend $2.5billion to fight hunger in the next five years in Nigeria.

The disclosure was made by the WFP Country Director for Nigeria, Mr David Stevesson, when he led a delegation of the UN agency to meet with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, on Wednesday in Abuja.

In his words, “We talked about zero hunger, we talked about humanitarian hubs in every local government area in the country, we talked about the world food programme.

“The potential to support those hubs through buying food locally and assisting the needy with cash transfers and food.

“Let me announce here that the World Food Programme is committed to spending 2.5 billion dollars to fight hunger in the next five years in Nigeria.”

Mr Stevesson revealed that WFP had already captured 2.1 million beneficiaries with the intent of working with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to achieve its target of achieving sustainable food security and zero hunger across the country.

Stevenson revealed that WFP was ready and willing to partner with the Nigerian government to tackle humanitarian concerns and poverty issues, especially as it related to food security.

He said, “We are excited by President Bola Tinubu’s commitment and drive to eradicate poverty and reduce humanitarian crises in Nigeria.

“The new energy which the Minister is bringing into the space gives us hope that we will accomplish a lot together.”

He also congratulated Betty Edu on her appointment as minister and expressed optimism on the capacity of the minister to deliver on the mandate.

Responding to the WFP Country Director for Nigeria, Minister Betty Edu said the intervention by the UN agency would go a long way to tackle some of the humanitarian crises facing Nigeria.

Dr Edu revealed that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation had established “Zero Hunger” as one of the projects of the Federal Government to tackle poverty and humanitarian challenges in the country.

She revealed that over 133 million people in Nigeria are affected by multidimensional poverty and appealed to WFP to work with the Federal Government to achieve results in addressing poverty and humanitarian challenges in the country.

She said, “We, therefore, appeal to the WFP to key into it by working with the Ministry to achieve results.

“Because this intervention will go a long way to address some of the biggest challenges the country is facing.”

The minister further revealed that the National Homegrown School Feeding, an aspect of the Zero Hunger project, is one of the Federal Government’s initiatives to address hunger in the country.

She also mentioned that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation will roll out several nutritional food programmes aimed at feeding the vulnerable population, including children under five years old, school pupils, pregnant women, and refugees across the country.

She said, “The Ministry will be working on different nutritional food programme that will target pregnant women, children under the age of five years and school pupils.

“Feeding persons who are affected by humanitarian crises, the aged including refugees that have found themselves within our space.

“Currently, we have over 80,000 persons living as refugees across Nigeria.”

Dr Edu disclosed that the ministry had the Federal Government intends to create 774 humanitarian hubs across the country as an innovative way of rejigging the humanitarian response in the country.

“Part of the innovation we are bringing on board is what we call a humanitarian hub.

“Because we want to create 774 of these humanitarian hubs in each local government across Nigeria,” she assured.

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