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.