Expert reveals how smugglers promote malnutrition in Nigeria

Activities of smugglers, who bring in staple foods into Nigeria, have continued to hamper government’s effort at reducing malnutrition among Nigerians.

Head of Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Chris Isokponwu, who stated this during a media workshop organized by Nestlé in Lagos said that  in spite of the efforts towards ensuring basic food produced in the country contain the right nutrients, smuggling activities continue to pose a challenge to eradicating malnutrition in the country.

He said: “When basic foods such as salt, vegetable oil, sugar are smuggled through our borders, we can’t vouch that such goods contain the needed nutrients like iodine and Vitamin A required for body growth and development.

“There has been increasing awareness among food producing companies to introduce iodine and vitamin A as supplement nutrients in their production. That is why when you look at the packaging materials of products in the markets, you see inscription and logos such as vitamin A or iodine fortified. These nutrients are important in the body and especially for children.”

Isokponwu said that Nigeria was the first country in Africa to obtain the universal salt iodisation certification in 2005, but that there has been a decline to 53 per cent presently.