18, June 2017
Nigeria says half of government food aid meant to reach the victims of a militancy northeast of the country has not reached its destination. A spokesman for acting president Yemi Osinbajo said late on Saturday that half of the trucks carrying food aid for people driven from their homes by Boko Haram Takfiri group have been diverted away from their destination.
“Over 1,000 trucks of assorted grains are now on course, delivering the grains intact to beneficiaries since the commencement of the present program as against the reported diversion of over 50 trucks in every 100 trucks sent to the northeast,” said Laolu Akande in an emailed statement.
Osinbajo, acting in lieu of President Muhammadu Buhari who is in Britain on medical leave, launched a program on June 8 to reach out to around 2.7 million people identified as IDPs, or internally displaced, as a result of more than eight years of insurgency by Boko Haram. Akande said the new system for distribution of food would significantly prevent the diversion of the humanitarian aid.
“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,” said the official, elaborating that 1,376 military personnel and 656 armed police would be tasked with guarding the food from where it its loaded to the trucks to the three main location where displaced people live, namely Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
More than 20,000 people have been killed since Boko Haram started its devastating campaign in northeast Nigeria in 2009. The violence has claimed many lives in neighboring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameron. A large-scale government offensive has pushed the militants from key areas they used to control, although sporadic attacks have continued over the past months.