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PERSPECTIVE: If We Don’t Feed People, We Feed Conflict

  BY OLOWGBOYEGA OYEBADE DO you know the food crisis has no respect for borders? Have you heard the news that there is an infant formula shortage in the US? Can you imagine that many babies in the United States are no longer having enough to eat? Do you know that baby and toddler formula…”
June 3, 2022 5:40 am



DO you know the food crisis has no respect for borders? Have you heard the news that there is an infant formula shortage in the US? Can you imagine that many babies in the United States are no longer having enough to eat? Do you know that baby and toddler formula shortages across the United States are disproportionately hurting vulnerable infants and low-income families who do not have the resources to travel long distances or pay marked-up prices for critical nutrients? What exactly is causing this crisis? How could the wealthiest country in the world not have food for its youngest and most vulnerable? When will shelves get stocked again? Do you know the US is the only high-income country in the world that does not guarantee paid maternity leave? 

After weeks of building pressure from his own party, do you know President Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act that would allow formula producers to have priority for ingredients, and to accelerate flying in formula from overseas suppliers? Are you aware that on 18th May, 2022, World Bank announced planned actions for Global Food Crisis Response by making $30 billion available for implementation to address food insecurity over next 15 months? Do you know World Bank Group President David Malpass said food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable? Do you know that on Friday 21st May, 2022, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB), announced the provision of a $1.5 billion Africa Emergency Food Plan to secure food security? Why are the international financial institutions are falling over each other to provide emergency funds for the provision of food? You care? Come along! 

Are you a civil servant public servant? How long can you fast? Have you read about hunger-strike? Do you know a hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke a feeling of guilt in others, usually with the objective to achieve a specific goal, such as a policy change? Do you know most hunger strikers will take liquids but not solid food? Do you know that in cases where a country is able to obtain custody of the hunger striker, the hunger strike is often terminated by the custodial entity through the use of force-feeding? Do you know Fasting was used as a method of protesting injustice in pre-Christian Ireland and the fast was often carried out on the doorstep of the home of the offender? Can you imagine allowing a person to die at one’s doorstep, for a wrong of which one was accused, was considered a great dishonor in that civilization? Do you know that in India, the practice of a hunger protest, where the protester fasts at the door of an offending party (typically a debtor) in a public call for justice, was abolished by the government in 1861? What did that suggest? Do you know it connotes that the practice was prevalent prior to that date? From the view of Medicine, in the first three days of hunger strike, it is stated that the body is still using energy from glucose and after that, the liver starts processing body fat, in a process called ketosis? After depleting fat, do you know the body enters a “starvation mode” and at this point the body “mines” the muscles and vital organs for energy, and loss of bone marrow becomes life-threatening? Do you know there are examples of hunger strikers dying after 46 to 73 days of strike? Do you know that popular hunger-strikers in the 20th and 21st centuries include: Marion Dunlop, Mary Clarke, Alice Paul and many others? Do you know Bobby Sands was the first of ten Irish republican paramilitary prisoners to die during the 1981 hunger strike to draw widespread sympathy? Do you know the ten men survived without food for 46 to 73 days, taking only water and salt, before succumbing? Have you read about Guillermo Farinas who did a seven-month hunger strike to protest against the extensive Internet censorship in Cuba? Do you know that Reporters Without Borders awarded its cyber-freedom prize to Guillermo Farinas in 2006? Do you know Article 8 of the 1975 World Medical Association Declaration of Tokyo states that doctors are not allowed to force-feed hunger strikers? While some people elect to fast for spiritual purpose, and some others go on hunger-strike to press home a demand, do you know many people in our world are now on compulsory hunger-strike as a result of food insecurity? Do you know the primacy of food in Psychology? 

Do you know we are courting disaster as a nation as the basic need of common people which is food are fast diminishing and in short supply? Are you aware that on Wednesday 18th May, 2022, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ made powerful remarks to the Global Food Security Call to Action ministerial meeting, in New York and warned that if we fail to feed people, then we shall feed conflict? Do you know he warned that mass hunger looms?

Do you know that mass hunger has metamorphosed into terrorism in Nigeria? Are you aware that on Thursday 19th May, 2022, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State during the presentation of the first quarter security report for 2022 by the state’s Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, confirmed the presence of Ansaru terrorists and other insurgents in the State and was responsible for the March 28 attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train in which nine people were killed and 62 others kidnapped? Do you know he further said the deteriorating security situation in the North West was far worse than what the country experienced in the North East because members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram elements had moved into the State? Do you know in his remarks, Aruwan said 360 people, 305 males, 45 females and 11 minors, were killed between January and March 2022 across the State and 1,389 others, 350 males, 420 females and 79 minors, were kidnapped, while 3,251 cattle were rustled within the period under review?

Do you know this is the time to answer the food questions in your office, personal life and marriage?  God bless Osun! God bless Nigeria!

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