By Abubakar Ahmed
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has offered to partner with Zamfara Government over impending malnutrition cases due to displacement of communities by bandits in the state.
UNICEF Country Representative Nigeria, Peter Hawkins made the offer when he paid a courtesy call on the governor in Gusau.
He expressed delight in the effort of the state government at enhancing immunization access to residents, which he said had resulted in drastic reduction of Wild Polio Virus and other killer diseases.
While commending the governor over the successes recorded in tackling insecurity which mostly affected women and children, Mr. Hawkins said “there is fear in the possible cases of malnutrition among children who were displaced by armed banditry activities.
“As the parents now return home, hunger can set in which could lead to malnutrition.
“This is why measures should be taken to forestall this, and UNICEF will be ready to partner with the government to ensure that every new born survives.”
He thanked the government for regular release of its counterpart funds, saying that UNICEF would continue to work closely with it in the areas of health, education, sanitation and protection of children.
“We will also work with the state government in the area of water provision and Zamfara will be among the first states to achieve open defecation free status,” he said.
While thanking the UNICEF officials for the visit, Governor Bello Matawalle said the peace and reconscilation initiative with bandits had resulted into reduction of criminality by 90 per cent.
“We however will need UNICEF intervention in the provision of basic amenities to facilitate our intentions of ensuring that the Fulani herders remain in one place.
“We have earmarked 100 hectares of land in each of the three senatorial districts of the state for the pilot scheme, but we will need your support to establish schools, hospitals, veterinaries, water provision and empowerment for women so that the herders will remain in one place.”
The governor assured that under his leadership, the state government would always meet its obligations in the payment of counterpart funds.