Over 2.3 million children are falling into acute hunger in Northeast Nigeria, as attacks by militants are devastating lives through malnutrition hunger, abuse trauma, Save the Children International (SCI) said on Thursday.
The foundation, while describing the situation as dire, expressed concern that these children including some 700,000 children under five and youths are suffering the consequences of militants attacks and urged the Nigerian government to take action.
Save the Children quoted a recent UN report which found that 4.4 million people in the Northeast are also in the brink of acute hunger, as the attacks continue to force farmers from their lands.
“Save the Children strongly condemns the reported attacks and displacement of farmers and other civilians in the Northeast, Nigeria.
Around 2.2 million people have fled their homes because of the violence, leaving families and children wanting for food, a safe place to live and, for many children, an education”, the statement read
Shannon Ward, acting country director, Save the Children International Nigeria, warned that the situation could lead to bigger food crises in the region.
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He said: “The situation in the Northeast is extremely dire. Millions of children have already been through a decade of suffering, violence and humanitarian crisis. Thousands and thousands have died, and many more saw their rights impacted to survive, learn and be protected.
“The reported loss of livelihoods, land and crop coupled with the effects of COVID-19 is beyond something the community can bear. We are extremely worried that this will lead to an even bigger food crisis in the northeast of the country.”
“We call upon the federal and state governments to ensure that farmers are supported and protected, so they can work their lands, and feed their families and communities. And we call for safe access for humanitarian workers, so we can reach those most in need.”
According to him, children, girls and women are more vulnerable at times of attack and displacement and run a high risk of gender-based violence, physical and sexual abuse.
“Many children will be urged to drop out of school, and some will never return – with their childhood dream fading away”, he said.