As the hunger situation in the country worsens as part of the fallout effects of COVID-19, Dr. Chetachi Ecton, a global humanitarian philanthropist and president of the When In Need Foundation is on a mission to eradicate hunger by engaging millions of Nigerians in food security programs.
In Abuja, Kaduna, Imo State and several other communities in Nigeria, Ecton and her Foundation have engaged about four million people in a sustainable food security program. Using her own resources and the agricultural seeds inputs from organizations and people of goodwill in the United States, she has donated seeds that will grow stable food to feed Nigerians across different communities in the nation.
Responding on why she took this step at this time, Ecton said that while she respects the global awareness that the developed world and the international community have given to people affected by the virus, little attention is being paid to millions of people that die of hunger every day in Africa, and Nigeria is no exception.
“While the entire world is paying attention to COVID-19, I am strongly appealing to the government of Nigeria, and governments from the developed world and the international community at large to pay attention to hunger as a pandemic that has never been declared as a global state of emergency but from which millions die from.”
“The Foundation partners in the US are willing to provide more agricultural inputs and feed more people through this sustainable food security initiative. As this sustainable food security program changes the lives of the vulnerable in Nigeria, we are appealing to all levels of governments across the country to be receptive to these tireless efforts we are making.”
“The kind of humanitarian aid I am advocating for at this time is not a conflict-driven food donation like the one that the UN gave to Nigeria. In 2018, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) gave a significant contribution of nearly US$100 million from the United States. According to the report, that guaranteed continued life-saving food assistance in northeast Nigeria through early 2018. This did well to guarantee nearly $100 million to the northeast that was laden with conflict.
“I want to appeal to the WFP and our partners in the US and around the world; in the wake of COVID-19, including in the post-COVID-19 world, communities in Nigeria are going to be badly hit because the factors of production have been crippled by coronavirus. The same way that the UN donated $100 million worth of food to people living in conflict infested zones, I appeal to them and the rest of the international community and the developed world to double their efforts in working with us as we engage the Nigerian government to help in providing logistics as we engage four million people from the most vulnerable communities into a sustainable food security programme.
“It has not been an easy road to secure farm inputs to feed four million Nigerians. That’s just a small percentage of the overall population, the partnership from the developed world, private foundations, the international community and the Nigerian government will triple our food input donation per capita and together, we would cover the rest of the country,” she said.