"SEVEN OUT OF TEN CHILDREN DO NOT GO TO SCHOOL----- HILDA DOKUBO
Reports have revealed that 53.6 million Nigerians, or nearly one-third of the nation's 140 citizens, go to bed hungry every night. Also in Sub-Sahara Africa, 31 million people allegedly go to bed hungry every night, while around 854 million people across the world undergo the same hunger process.
Above worrisome statistics formed part of the reason why a campaign against hunger was launched last week in Nigeria.
The campaign, titled 'Hunger-Free Campaign' was kicked off by ActionAid Nigeria, in conjunction with some other civil society organisations.
The event which held in Abuja was witnessed by a crowd made up of the nation's labour movement, members of international and national non-governmental organisations and youth activists.
Speaking at the rally held at the Old Parade Ground, Area 11, Abuja, ActionAid Nigeria Country Director, Dr. Otive Igbuzor explained that hunger is a very painful experience.
In a statement issued by Mr. Tunde Aremu of ActionAid, the rights group leader said, "hunger is a very painful experience, especially when you are hungry not because you are fasting, when you are hungry not because you are too busy to eat, but you are hungry because you have nothing to eat".
At an event which was reportedly marred by violence and alleged harassment by some task force officials, Igbuzor, quoting from statistics from the Nigeria's official Bureau of Statistics, said "53.6 million Nigerians go to bed hungry every night. This translates to one in every three Nigerians going to bed hungry".
"It is outrageous that in this world we live in now, where we have enormous resources, where we have enormous technology that can feed the entire world, we have 854 million people across the world going to bed hungry every night. We are saying this is un-acceptable. In Sub-Sahara Africa, we have 31 million people going to bed hungry every night", he disclosed.
According to him, "this situation is unacceptable in a country that is the sixth largest exporter of crude oil in the world. This is a country that has enormous human and material resources".
The ActionAid Nigeria chieftain reiterated the commitment of his organisation, her partners, the United Nations agencies, Nigeria central labour movement, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Nigeria Union of Teachers, National Council of Women Societies, the Federal Capital Territory (F.C.T.) rural communities and poor people in the country to fighting to end poverty.
Other speakers at the campaign launch include, labour activists, representatives of the rural communities around the FCT, some representatives of women groups and youths.
The Hunger-Free campaign reportedly moved in a convoy through the main street of Abuja to create awareness on the issue of hunger, which is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expected to be successfully tackled by 2015.
To express support for the campaign, popular Nigerian actress and minority rights activist, Hilda Dokubo has also called for a hunger-free Nigeria.
The actress who spoke at a global youth campaign against hunger (Activista) held at the University of Jos, North Central Nigeria, told a crowd of students, youth activists and other performing artistes that they all need to come together to fight hunger in the oil rich nation.
Dokubo said "I do not know how you woke up this morning, but I know how over 30 million children did not sleep at all. I do not know if you have had some meals today, but I know how seven out of every ten children in my area of this country do not eat". The actress, who has been engaged in development works especially in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, gave a graphic detail of the situation of poverty and hunger in the area, where she hails from.
Hilda Dokubo, a very famous actress in the Nigerian film industry, said, "seven out of ten children do not go to school. Whereas, 67 per cent of children elsewhere go to school, 70 per cent of children in my area do not go to school. The hospitals are simply inaccessible. Our roads are more of death traps".
Also, Obo Effanga of ActionAid Nigeria and Coordinator of Activista in Nigeria explained that "Activista is a global youth movement campaigning in ten countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America against hunger".
According to him, the movement is an initiative of ActionAid International to raise the awareness of youths all over the world to the realities of hunger; as well a way of raising the consciousness of the youths globally to the cause and effect of hunger.
"We want to tell the whole world that there is so much hunger in the world today. We are hungry and we are angry. This situation is unacceptable," Effanga said.