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From Plates to Peace: The unseen connection between nutrition and global peace




The International Day of Peace (IDP), celebrated every 21st of September, is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace and non-violence among people and countries of the world. Achieving peace worldwide has been recognized as a tool in achieving global development and as such, is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of which goal 16 aims to achieve ‘peace, justice and strong institutions that promote peace’. The 2023 IDP with the theme “Action for Peace: Our ambition for the global goals” is a call to action that recognizes the individual and collective responsibility of all individuals in achieving peace worldwide. Peace is important for human health and development and to achieve this, stable access to good food and optimal nutrition is very important. Thus, a peaceful and stable environment begets good nutrition in the population; and good nutrition promotes peace, stable and sustainable environment.

Impact of Crises on Nutrition

The lack of peace resulting in crises or conflict in a community affects the nutritional status of the inhabitants in diverse ways ranging from lack of physical access to food, to lack of resources required to purchase food and health promoting services resulting from loss of livelihood.

Crises can immediately reduce food availability and affordability as it results in disruptions in food supply, losses in agricultural productivity, and increases cost of foods which makes it difficult for people to access enough food. Thus, residents in these locations often eat unhealthy, unbalanced, and nutrient-poor diets. The disruptions in food systems are due to the destruction of farmlands, threats to farmers and other agents in the agricultural-value chain, and disruptions of food transportation from one area to another. Insufficient consumption of key nutrients causes under-nutrition especially among vulnerable groups such children, pregnant women, and the elderly.

In the Northern part of Nigeria where there is high level of crises, conflicts and insurgencies, there have been a steady decline in the agricultural productivity of the region. Reports have shown that since the inception of the Bokoharam insurgents, many northern states such as Borno, Gombe and Yobe are having lower agricultural outputs than the expected output based on the amount of inputs being used. This can be attributed to the fact that most farmers have to abandon their farmlands after planting. Also due to this insurgency and other conflicts as well as the increased desertification and water depletion in Northern Nigeria, nomadic herdsmen are now shifting towards the southern part of the country in search of grazing fields and water for their livestock. This has resulted in violent conflict with crop farmers as well as destruction of farmlands. All these have resulted in a decline in agricultural productivity in Nigeria. Looking at the report from the United States Department of agriculture (USDA), agricultural production for most crops especially corn, sorghum and millet have shown a steady decline from 2018 to the year 2023. A review of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) data base by Akano et al, 2023 also showed a decline in the production of foods such as cassava, cattle-beef and maize over the years. This has necessitated the need for importation of more foods, which is done at higher costs and contributes to the inflation in food prices and food insecurity in the country.

Crises also increase both physical and mental stress for people which can increase the incidence of various illnesses in a population. The incidence of illnesses is particularly high when there are disruptions and damages to the health and sanitation systems. High levels of illnesses during crises worsens the nutritional crisis among the affected populations thus, making it harder to mitigate and avoid health complications related to malnutrition. During natural disasters and wars where people are forced to flee their homes to densely packed encampments without basic sanitation, the level of hunger and disease epidemics are high and this contributes to the development of malnutrition in the affected populations especially among vulnerable groups.

In addition, crises also result in loss of livelihood and assets. The loss of income earning capacity and assets that can be converted to money affects the ability of affected people to purchase food items for consumption as well as their ability to purchase other services that can increase their nutritional status.

Food as a weapon of war

Occasionally, food has been used as a tool of war, just like guns, bombs, and explosives. It has been recognized that controlling access to food can be an effective weapon in times of conflict. Food can be used as a tool of war in Nigeria and globally, where hunger is deliberately employed as a weapon to achieve political, social, or military objectives. This tactic is often used by armed groups or governments to control populations, weaken opponents, and create instability. By controlling the food supply or obstructing access to food, these actors exert power and manipulate vulnerable communities. This cruel strategy not only leads to immediate suffering and starvation but also has long-term consequences for the affected regions, perpetuating cycles of malnutrition, poverty and conflict.

The concept of using food as a weapon originated in 1921, when the Soviet Union employed it against “class enemies”. Then, the British imposed a blockade against Germany intending to prevent all imports from entering the country, a situation the German soldiers referred to as “Hunger blockade” claiming that it destroyed the well-being of women and children among the vulnerable through lack of adequate nutrition. In recent times, there have been concerns about the use of food as a weapon in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The United States has also recognized the power of food as a weapon, with a former secretary of agriculture stating that it is one of the principal tools in their negotiating kit. Russia has been accused of using food as a weapon of war in Ukraine, exacerbating a famine crisis that has affected millions of people.

Food has been reportedly used as a tool of war in Nigeria at different times. During the Nigeria civil war in the late 1960s, there was restricted access to food supplies in some regions of the country which led to a severe famine and the loss of lives. Also, the Boko Haram insurgency has employed food as a weapon by targeting agricultural areas, destroying crops, and disrupting food distribution. This tactic aims to create food shortages, displacement, and dependency on the group for survival. Similarly, in other conflicts globally, food shortages and the disruption of economic activities can threaten the survival of entire population.

Globally, the use of food as a weapon of war is a grave concern. It violates humanitarian principles and international law, including the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit the starvation of civilian populations as a method of warfare. The deliberate starvation of civilians is considered a war crime.

While the use of food as a weapon is a violation of human rights and humanitarian principles, it remains a sad reality in certain conflicts. International organizations like the World Food Programme (WFP) work tirelessly to address and mitigate the impact of food as a tool of war. They provide emergency food assistance, support sustainable agriculture, promote conflict resolution, and advocate for policy changes to protect vulnerable populations. However, the eradication of this tactic requires a collective effort from governments, humanitarian organizations, and the international community to address the root causes of conflict, promote peace-building, and ensure food security for all.

Impact of malnutrition on peace: A hungry man is an angry man

Conversely, malnutrition greatly impacts the peace of any society and the impact is far reaching. The impact of malnutrition can be considered from different perspectives. Malnutrition can increase social and economic inequality, leading to unrest and conflict. It weakens physical and cognitive development, so individuals will find it difficult to contribute meaningfully to their society. The poor cognitive development associated with malnutrition hinders the capacity for rational thinking in individuals and this can result in escalation of minor problems into full blown conflict.

Malnutrition also strains the resources, which are already limited, creating unnecessary competition and tension. Tackling malnutrition will be a very important tool in building a foundation of stability and cooperation in regions with a high incidence of unrest. Also, malnutrition fuels social disparities and inequalities, which has a way of fostering feelings of injustice among marginalized communities. This feeling is often exploited by extremist groups seeking to recruit disillusioned individuals. Thus, malnutrition in such cases has contributed to instability and insecurity in the communities involved by sabotaging peace-building efforts.

Taking a close look at the Northern part of Nigeria, malnutrition’s impact on the peace of the region is multifaceted: it contributes to a vicious cycle that hampers peace-building efforts. Malnutrition has led to an increased morbidity and mortality rate, weakening the population’s overall health, and reducing their ability to engage in economic activities and education. This in turn has led to limitations in human capital development and increased poverty, thereby creating fertile ground for continuous social unrest in the region. The Boko-haram insurgency and other criminal activities in the northern part of the country is a consistent threat to the lives of residents in the North-East and national security. The insurgency has grossly led to increased incidence of diseases, food insecurity, unemployment, violation of human rights, displacement, and shelter problems among others.

Due to this unrest, there has been destruction of numerous farmlands as well as death of farmers which have caused farmers to abandon their farmland in fear of being kidnapped and killed by the insurgents. This has placed a great burden on the food supply situation in the country and it is a great contributor to the increase in food prices being experienced in the country. The side effect of this is reflected in the increasing prevalence of food security and malnutrition in the country especially in the northern states where these crises are virulent.

However, the high level of crises in the northern part of the country is not surprising as this region has consistently had the highest burden of malnutrition over the years. As malnutrition hinders cognitive development and the capacity for logical reasoning in individuals, people in this region are prime for exploitation by extremist groups seeking to recruit disillusioned individuals. This also increases the tendency for minor crises to escalate into humanitarian crises.


Peace and good nutrition are not mutually exclusive as the presence of one promotes the other. Ensuring a sustainable and peaceful environment is essential to the survival of the human race. It is particularly important at this time where climatic chaos and increased occurrence of natural disasters are wreaking havoc on food availability and supply to the world.

To this effect, good nutrition can play a vital role in promoting peace and stability as it helps in conflict prevention, promotes human development and community resilience as well as overall health and wellbeing of people. Thus, promoting better nutrition outcomes by ensuring food security, good education, strong health care systems as well as proper integration of nutrition considerations into broader policy frameworks related to agriculture, healthcare and social development would go a long way in reducing the risk of conflicts and fostering healthy, resilient, prosperous and peaceful communities.

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forecasts 3-day sunshine, haziness from SundayNiMet



The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted sunshine and haziness from Sunday to Tuesday across the country.

NiMet’s weather outlook released on Sunday in Abuja predicted sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere over the northern region during the forecast period.

According to it, sunny skies in hazy atmosphere are also expected over the North central region during the forecast period.

It anticipated cloudy skies with spells of sunshine over the Inland states of the South.

NiMet predicted cloudy skies over the coastal cities with prospects of thunderstorms over parts of Edo, Ondo, Imo, Ebonyi, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states during the afternoon and evening hours.

The agency envisaged dust haze over the northern region on Monday during the for22ecast period.

“Sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere are expected over the North central region during the forecast period.

“Cloudy skies with spells of sunshine are envisaged over the Inland states of the South and the coastal cities with prospects of morning mist over Delta, Bayelsa, Lagos, Cross River and Akwa Ibom.


“Later in the day, thunderstorms are expected over parts of Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states,” it said.

According to NiMet, dust haze with visibility range of 2km to 5 km is anticipated over the northern region on Tuesday during the forecast period.

It predicted dust haze over the North central region during the forecast period.

It anticipated cloudy skies with spells of sunshine over the Inland states of the South and the Coastal cities during the forecast period.

“Dust particles are in suspension, public should take necessary precautions. People with Asthma and other respiratory issues should be cautious of the present weather situations.

“Moderate to heavy rainfall could lead to flash floods. The public is advised to take necessary
caution, avoid driving and walking through flood waters.

“Strong winds are likely to precede and accompany the thunderstorms, the public is advised to take necessary safety precautions.

“Disaster Risk Managers, Agencies and individuals should be proactive, to avert loss of lives and property during the rainy season,” it said.

The agency advised the Airline operators to get updated weather reports from its office for effective planning in their operations.

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Kidnapping: Senator tasks NASS on new robust strategies



Sen. Ned Nwoko (PDP-Delta) has urged the National Assembly to recommend robust strategies to prevent kidnappings in the country.

Nwoko representing Delta North, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.

He said the joint committees of the National Assembly on security agencies should interface with relevant stakeholders and come up with novel measures to tackle the menace.

According to him, kidnapping has increasingly made life difficult for citizens and is affecting the economy, including food security.

Nwoko said this would have far reaching effects on the country’s prosperity.

The senator particularly said that the kidnappers had gradually made life difficult for residents of the FCT, particularly in Kuje Area Council.

Nwoko said in spite of the efforts being made by security agencies, a lot needs to be done in tracking and apprehending the kidnappers.

He also called for enforcement of the 2023 law that criminalised payment of ransom to kidnappers.

The lawmaker, whose legislative aide and 18 others were recently abducted in the Galadimawa area of Abuja, said it was important to take appropriate measures to end the menace.

He, therefore, called for a joint operation involving the Army, Air Force, Police, and Department of State Services (DSS) to intensify the search efforts for the captives.

Nwoko also urged the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to seek funding for  installation of CCTV cameras in strategic locations within and around Abuja, and along the highways, and major capital cities to bolster surveillance and deter criminal activities.

“The IGP  should also urgently increase security patrols and surveillance within Abuja and across the nation to proactively combat and prevent further kidnappings.

“In view of this, I recently moved a motion on urgent action needed to fortify security, and tackle the surge of kidnapping in the FCT,” he added.

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Military neutralises terrorist kingpin, others in Niger air strikes – NAF



The Air Component of Operation Whirl Punch, has eliminated a dreaded terrorist and kidnap kingpin, Yellow Jambros, and scores of other terrorists in airstrikes in Shiroro Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger.

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) made this known in a statement by the Director, Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, on Sunday in Abuja.

Gabkwet said the terrorists met their end while attempting to cross the Jikudna River in Galadima Kogo District, heading towards Wurukuvhi axis of Chikun LGA.

He said that Yellow Jambros and his cohorts were trailed from Zamfara into Niger riding 13 motorcycles along the Kaduna-Niger State border, precisely heading towards Kusasu in Shiroro, prior to the strike.

“At Kusasu, five other motorcycle-riding terrorists joined Yellow Jambros’ convoy, bringing the total number of motorcycles to 18, which then headed to the bank of River Jikudna.

“At the river bank, the terrorists and their 18 motorcycles boarded a large motor-powered canoe in an attempt to cross and link up with other terrorists across the river.

“It was at this point that the authorisation to undertake a strike was given.

“The precision strike was adjudged effective as it neutralised Yellow Jambros and his colleagues, destroyed their motorcycles and sank the boat.

“Though it was unusual for terrorists riding in a convoy of 18 motorcycles to travel in broad daylight, it was apparent that Yellow Jambros and his cohorts had assumed that air strikes were suspended following the unfortunate incident at Tudun Biri in Kaduna State and wanted to exploit the perceived window of opportunity,” he said.

The NAF spokesman said that Yellow Jambros and his cohorts had been responsible for several kidnappings and killings along the Abuja-Kaduna Road and in several communities in Kaduna, Niger, Katsina and Zamfara States.

He said a kidnap kingpin, known as Mohammed Sani, who arrested by the Police in Zamfara in October 2020 for murdering over 50 of his victims due to their inability to mobilise ransom, had claimed that he worked for Yellow Jambros.

According to Gabkwet, the terrorist revealed that Yellow Jambros usually supplied him with fake military and police uniforms, guns and other weapons needed to execute his operation.

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