The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, is partnering with Empower 54, an NGO, in creating awareness and eradicating malnutrition in Africa, which currently kills 2.3 million children annually in Nigeria.
Empower’s President, Princess Modupe Ozolua, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said the monarch would work with Empower via his global gutreach initiative, Ooni of Ife Global Outreach.
Empower 54 Project Inc is a US non-profit organisation providing humanitarian assistance since 2003 through health, education, empowerment, and IDP/refugee programmes to underprivileged Africans.
Ozolua recalled that Nigeria’s Minister of Health had declared that “one-third or 33 per cent of Nigerian children less than five years old suffer from chronic malnutrition”, which translated into very disturbing statistics.
She said: “After Empower 54 evacuated the severely malnourished Internally Displaced Persons(IDP) children from Bama to Maiduguri on June 13 and July 1, 2016, we realised more has to be done to save children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) beyond evacuating them from high risk zones for treatment.
“There is countless number of non-IDP children suffering from SAM all over Nigeria and other parts of Africa that also need help.
“Due to Oba Ogunwusi’s dedication to humanity, it is with great honour that he has agreed to lend his voice and passion to the campaign to eradicate malnutrition in Africa.
“Ooni supports Empower 54’s forward thinking and lives changing initiative by stating.”
Ozolua said that the Ooni of Ife regretted that malnutrition was creeping deeper into the fabric of the society as there was the need to adopt policies and strategies that were capable of combating its rapid expansion.
Oba Ogunwusi said: “Africa is the wealth of the world with huge human and natural resources and we must form a consensus that would scale up nutrition projects for the greater developments of future leaders that are being crippled daily by our collective negligence.
“As the Co-Chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, we require holistic and systematic global blended approach in addressing the shade of malnutrition in Africa.
“I recognise and applaud months of intervention of Empower 54 in subjugating the spread of malnutrition in Nigeria and across Africa.
“Therefore, in an effort to forge greater participation, it is my sheer commitment and other global partners to advocate alongside the long-term collective aspirations of Empower 54 in championing malnutrition extinction roadmap in Africa.”
Ozolua said that as a global goodwill ambassador for Empower 54, the Ooni has joined Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Patron of Empower 54) and Hollywood actress, Kat Graham (Empower 54’s goodwill ambassador for IDPs/Refugees) to work towards impacting lives of underprivileged Africans.