GOVERNOR IKPEAZU ADVOCATES SERIOUSNESS AGAINST ADEQUATE MALNUTRITION
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has advocated that issues of adequate malnutrition be taken seriously as done in immunization to reduce lack of micro nutrients among Nigerians.
The Governor made his feelings known while delivering a keynote address at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State, during the 3rd International Conference on Food Security and Hidden Hunger, with the theme, “Implication of Hidden Hunger on Nutrition and Food Security in the Face of Climate Change.” He said that lack of micro nutrients otherwise known as hidden hunger posses great danger to humanity and should be tackled quickly.
He said that ignorant of right food to take and over-sophisticated choice of food by many Nigerians cause hidden hunger and called on people to embrace local food, saying that local food is superior to the foreign and contains necessary nutrients that could improve life.
The State Chief Executive disclosed that he has ensured that Abia children are loaded with suficient micro nutrients through the Free School Meal Initiative which Abia State extended from pupils of Primary One to Three of Federal government to Primay Six to accommodate every pupil. He said that the programme has restored confidence in public schools in Abia State and has increased the number of enrollment from 150 thousand in 2015 to 610 thousand in 2019 with 5,300 women engaged as cooks, adding that the pupils are fed with foods generated locally.
The Governor, who assured the university that the award given to his wife would spur her to do more, promised to donate 500 thousand naira to the best graduating student of Clinical Biochemistry and fund researches on Biochemistry and Hidden Hunger for the next three years with two million naira each year.
In his speech, the Vice Chancellor, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State, Prof. Chinedu Nwajiuba, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, Prof. Sunday Elom said the theme of the conference is timely as there is need to profer solution to hidden hunger.
He thanked the Governor for making out time to honour the institution and assured that the school would further research on the areas he pointed out accordingly.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman, Steering Committee of the conference and Abia-born academic, Prof. John Ogunji revealed that Nigeria has the second highest burden of stunted growth alluding it to the effects of hidden hunger.
According to him, the Faculty of Agriculture organised the conference as one of the ways of creating awareness and mitigating hidden hunger in the society and called for all hands to be on deck to achieve that.
Prof. Ogunji congratulated the wife of the Abia State Governor, Deaconess Nkechi Ikpeazu on her selection as the “Hidden Hunger Reduction Ambassador” and said that the award fits her as she has stood as a leader who is committed to reducing hidden hunger in Nigeria.
Highlights of the occasion were presentation of Award of Excellence tagged “Hidden Hunger Reduction Ambassador” to the wife of the Governor, Deaconess Nkechi Ikpeazu for her efforts in eradicating hidden hunger through feeding of school pupils in Abia State which the Governor received on her behalf as well as decoration of the Governor with Akwete clothes produced in the university
The Governor later performed a tree planting excercise in the school in commemoration of the annual conference.