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H.  4 Dhu al-Qi'dah 1444 No: 1444 AH / 038
M.  Wednesday, 24 May 2023

Press Release
Starvation Grips the Children of Nigeria in the Absence of the Guardianship of the Khilafah

The starvation crisis affecting Nigeria, especially in the northeast is intensifying. According to the UN, over 42% of households across the BAY states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe had insufficient food intake and over 80% of people in need of humanitarian assistance across the same states were women and children. It described a “ticking time bomb” of child malnutrition escalating in the northeast and estimated that 2 million children in the country suffer from severe acute malnutrition. The representative of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lydia Shehu-Jafiya, stated that Nigeria is ranked number 1 in Africa and number 2 globally in terms of malnourished children, with an estimated 14.7 million under the age of 5 predicted to suffer from moderate and severe acute malnutrition. UNICEF’s Chief Nutrition Officer in the country, Nemat Hajeebhey, stated that one third of children in Nigeria lived in severe food poverty. Malnutrition due to lack of access to good quality food can have severe health repercussions on children, including stunted growth, development problems, and a weakened immune system making them more prone to infectious diseases that can lead to death. According to UNICEF, of the 36 million children under 5 in Nigeria, 15 million (42%) are stunted, 2.8 million are severely wasted and 30 million (83%) are anaemic. It also stated that around 100 children under 5 die hourly in Nigeria due to malnutrition, equivalent to 2400 deaths per day.

Massive inflation, high food prices, extreme poverty, and insecurity due to internal conflict causing displacement of over 2 million people and disruption of agricultural production has all contributed to the mass starvation of children in the country. The closure of some camps for the internally displaced last year by government authorities also exacerbated the problem. Meanwhile, government ministers, UN officials, and other international bodies deliver empty speeches and launch futile initiatives promising to improve access to food which in reality creates no real change to the desperate plight of the masses, proving time and again that they have no solutions to people’s problems.

The Prophet (saw) stated that every individual has the right for their basic needs to be fulfilled:

«لَيْسَ لِابْنِ آدَمَ حَقٌّ فِي سِوَى هَذِهِ الْخِصَالِ بَيْتٌ يَسْكُنُهُ وَثَوْبٌ يُوَارِي عَوْرَتَهُ وَجِلْفُ الْخُبْزِ وَالْمَاءِ»

“The Son of Adam has no better right than that he would have a house wherein he may live, a piece of clothing whereby he may hide his nakedness and a piece of bread and some water.” However, in the absence of the ruling system of Islam, the Khilafah (Caliphate) based upon the method of the Prophethood, we cannot even feed the children of our Ummah adequately. In the absence of this Islamic system, the greatest aspiration for millions of mothers of our Ummah is just to keep their children alive. There was a time under the rule of the System of Allah (swt) where Africa was the breadbasket of the world; a time where food came from North Africa to feed the people of Arabia during their time of famine under the rule of Khalifah Umar bin Al Khattab (ra); a time where Muslim lands overflowed with wealth such that no-one in various provinces of the Khilafah were in need of the Zakat, such as under the rule of the 8th century Khalifah, Umar bin Abdul Aziz, due to Islam’s economic policies and fair distribution of wealth. And there was a time where the Muslim lands were the envy of the world with regards to their prosperity, and first-class education and health care facilities and technological advancement, with some of the greatest universities in the world built in Africa. Now only darkness and despair envelopes the region, and states struggle just to keep their future generations alive under flawed and corrupt man-made systems and self-serving rulers and regimes who are clueless about how to take care of their people. It is the Khilafah state which is the guardian of the Ummah and the only system that can restore security and prosperity to this Ummah under the light of the laws of Islam. The children of this Ummah deserve better than scraps of food. They deserve a system that will take care of all their needs, protect them from harm and raise them to be a shining generation and model for humanity!

[وَمَا أَصَابَكُم مِّن مُّصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُو عَن كَثِيرٍ]

“And whatever strikes you of disaster – it is for what your hands have earned; but He pardons much.” [Ash-Shura: 30]

Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Director of the Women’s Section in The Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir

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