The Nigerian government has revealed that more than half of food aid meant for the internally Displaced People (IDP) in the north east of the country, where Boko Haram has devastated predominantly christian communities and destroyed several churches, has been “diverted”.
Vice-president Yemi Osinbajo standing in after the medical absence of President Muhammadu Buhari, on June 8, went to Maiduguri barely 24 hours after multiple Boko Haram attacks killed at least eighteen people in a multiple bomb attack carried out by young girls orchestrated by Boko Haram jihadists. Yemi Osinbajo was in Maiduguri to mark the distribution of food aid to nearly two million people still displaced by the insurgency.
“Over 1,000 trucks of assorted grains are now on course, delivering the grains intact to beneficiaries since the commencement of the present programme as against the reported diversion of over 50 trucks in every 100 trucks sent to the northeast,” Laolu Akande, the Vice president’s spokesman said. “The issue of diversion of relief materials, including food and related matters, which has dogged food delivery to the IDPs would be significantly curbed under the new distribution matrix.”
To ensure that this food is not diverted, Akande said thousands of military and armed police would escort the food from warehouses to distribution centres in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states of the northeast most affected by the Islamist jihadist attacks.
The Chairman of the Christian association of Nigeria in Chibok, the Rev Philip Madu, has criticised the distribution model operated by the federal government. He said that as long as the church and religious laders are cut out of the distribution, that lack of transparency will ontinue to “bedevil” the way that aid reaches displaced persons.
He declared: “Religious leaders who know their people and who will ensure that the people get what is allotted to them need to be involved in this distribution network” he said.
“When you give distribution to people who are not directly affected or who are not from this region, they only see opportunities to get rich. We are directly affected. We see our people and children dying of starvation, we can’t afford not to feed them, we can’t afford to take the curse of these orphans and widows on our heads. Others however simply see wealth at the expense of the lives of people,” he said.
Meanwhile Boko Haram has continued its attacks in the region, killing many more people and increasing the number of people fleeing villages.