By Omeiza Ajayi
Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC have expressed commitment to ensuring food security in their states, saying there is a strong nexus between national security and food security.
The governors made the commitment in a communique issued on Monday at the end of a virtual meeting of their Secretaries to State Governments which held under the auspices of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF.
They also pledged to implement recommendations guaranteeing six months maternity leave and also promoting six months of exclusive breastfeeding for children.
The meeting followed a series of other sessions with the Commissioners of Health, Agriculture and Education where the framework was discussed extensively.
Though the APC states had last year expressed the same commitment, the meeting reviewed the current status of child and maternal nutrition in APC states and considered the PGF Secretariat’s Proposal on the implementation of the Framework.
“Given the import of nutrition to addressing the problems of stunting and wasting in children, the meeting agreed that APC controlled states commit themselves to promoting essential nutrient fortified foods and supplements for nursing mothers and children under the ages of five.
“Considering the importance of robust public engagement in the implementation of the Framework for Maternal and Child Nutrition, APC States undertake to design effective communication strategies to raise public awareness and transform public attitudes towards issues related to malnutrition and its effects on the Child and nursing mothers;
“Because of the significant role parental support play in the lives of children and the need to enhance the health of nursing mothers, APC States are committed to implementing the recommendation to prioritise granting 180 days (6 months) maternity leave for nursing mothers in the APC States;
“APC State Governments are also committed to encouraging and supporting women to practice six months of exclusive breastfeeding of children from birth”, the APC states said in the communique signed by the SSGs of Jigawa and Plateau States, Alhaji Adamu Fanini and Prof. Danladi Atu respectively.
The meeting also resolved that given the strong linkages between national security and food security, APC States should adopt sustainable strategies and other initiatives for strengthening food production and food security, as part of their development programmes.
The theme for the virtual meeting was ‘Developing Common Policy Initiatives on Maternal & Child Nutrition Promotion in APC States’. The overarching objective was to consider and approve the implementation framework for promotion of maternal and child nutrition in APC States.
Co-Chairmen of PGF Governance Programme Steering Committee, Gov. Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State, declared the meeting open, while Gov. Mohammed Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State, declared the meeting closed.