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Report confirms 64% acute malnutrition cases in northwest

The study pointed out that inadequate national-level protections, inconsistent roles for state governments within the federal system, and unreliable information gathering have all played a part.

Findings revealed that the North-West is nearly triple that of the North-East, with 64% of surveyed Local Government Areas reporting 'serious' acute malnutrition, compared to 22% in the North-East (IPC, 2023).  [Meta AI Image]

The findings, launched in Abuja on Friday, May 24, by the Neem Foundation and the Humanitarian Policy Group at ODI, confirmed that there have been high levels of humanitarian need in the north, as the northwest remains critically underserved compared to the northeast.

According to John Bryant, a Research Fellow for the Humanitarian Policy Group at ODI, “The study highlights that acute malnutrition in the northwest is nearly triple that of the North-East, with 64% of surveyed Local Government Areas reporting ‘serious’ acute malnutrition, compared to 22% in the North-East (IPC, 2023).

“These disparities are largely due to differing narratives and perceptions of the conflicts in these regions. The North-East’s conflict, framed as an ideologically driven insurgency, has attracted significant domestic and international humanitarian attention. In contrast, the northwest’s crisis is often described as ‘endemic banditry’ or ‘lawlessness,’ leading to its deprioritisation.”

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The study obtained by Pulse identified various factors contributing to the issues in the northeast and northwest, highlighting the lack of coordination between federal and state governments as a major cause.

The study pointed out that inadequate national-level protections, inconsistent roles for state governments within the federal system, and unreliable information gathering have all played a part.

These issues are seen as symptoms of broader political decisions regarding the conflicts and their management.

However, the study recommends that state authorities should be the central actors in delivering protection, services and development interventions for affected people in these regions.

It also recommends that international humanitarian actors engage state governments early on to help jointly create durable solutions.

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Speaking at the event, Dr Fatima Akilu, the Executive Director of Neem Foundation, said the research project became necessary due to the parallels between donor dynamics in Nigeria and those of other conflict-affected countries in the Global South, such as Sudan and the Central African Republic, as well as countries in the Global North, like Ukraine.

She said, “Here, we recognised that patterns exist in the international conceptualisation of crises, the creation of meaning or significance in the media, and as a consequence, the level of aid that these crises garner. Within this paradigm, we observed that there exist disparities in aid provision between countries and even within countries, with Nigeria being an example, we noticed that humanitarian aid becomes disparate across regions.

“More precisely, we know that displacement risks and economic vulnerability show parity between Northeast Nigeria and the Northwest. Yet, we predominantly see aid channelled to the northeast. Here, we sought to understand the national and international motivations that lead to this.”

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