The Secretary to Gombe State Government, Prof. Ibrahim Njodi, has decried the high rate of poverty in the state.
According to the commissioner, the high rate of poverty is fuelling malnutrition in Gombe state.
The increasing rate of poverty in Gombe, Njodi said, has further reinforced the nexus between malnutrition and the socio-economic development of a people.
Njodi stated this when a delegation from the Accelerating Nutrition Result in Nigeria (ARiN) project, led by Omotayo Adeyemi, the Director of Social Development, Federal Ministry of Finance and Budget Planning paid him a courtesy visit in Gombe.
According to him, what matters to a poor man is not how balanced his meal is but the ability to put something in his stomach.
He said, “Poverty is a key issue to what happens to the common man.
“When you talk to the common man what matters to him is how he can get food to fill his stomach. He is not concerned about a balanced diet.”
While bemoaning the surge in poverty, the SSG noted that the Gombe State government is working assiduously to get a sustainable partnership to address the challenge.
“For us here, poverty is the main cause of the malnutrition problem.
“In a state like Lagos that may have all the food, the problem of malnutrition may be lack of education. But, in our own case here, poverty is the key.
“When you talk about a special pot of soup, a particular soup that has many ingredients from vegetables, fish, kpomo, stockfish, many people in some states may be able to afford it, but here, I bet you many cannot afford N20 worth of beans with palm oil. When you see them, you see starvation, you see poverty.
“We are trying to see what we can do to make life easy for the common man.
“As a government, we are open to getting the needed support.
“We are also trying to empower our youth.
“We will use your expertise to take our people out of poverty. We will do our best.
“Be rest assured that our governor is ready to do whatever you think will bring our people out from poverty,” Njodi added.
Also speaking during the meeting, the Special Adviser to the governor on Budget, Planning and Donor Coordination, Ishiyaku Mohammed, said ARiN is working across all sectors.
He stated that the production of 30,000 complimentary food for moderately malnourished children by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation is the first of its kind in the country.
Speaking earlier, Omotayo Adeyemi disclosed that the ARiN project is a five-year initiative aimed at improving nutrition in Nigeria, noting that Gombe is one of the implementing states.
He disclosed further that his team was in the state on advocacy for the project.
The project, Adeyemi sai, is being piloted across Nafada, Balanga, and Yalmatu Deba in Gombe.
“ARiN came in as an intervention project and Gombe happens to be one of the states for its implementation and the only state in the North East.
“We have been to the ministries of Education, Finance, the State House of Assembly to solicit for their support in the appropriation of nutrition budget line. The State House of Assembly has also promised to create a new committee on nutrition,” he said.