Boko Haram: Borno governor denies, then apologises for UN fund ‘misuse’ claim

Governor Kashim Shettima
Photo: VOA Hausa
Governor Kashim Shettima Photo: VOA Hausa

Top officials of the United Nations system in Nigeria on Thursday stormed the Government House Maiduguri, Borno State, for a fence mending meeting with the governor, Kashim Shettima, after his criticism of their humanitarian operations in the state.

On Wednesday, Governor Shettima had asked 126 NGOs and aid agencies to leave his state for alleged underperformance and misuse of funds meant for support of Boko Haram victims.

The UN top officer in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, on Thursday denied the governor’s allegation.

After the public denial however, Mr. Kallon, who is the UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator to Nigeria, led a delegation of his organisation to Maiduguri to clear issues with the governor.

At the event, Mr. Kallon made a detail presentation of the UN mission for the North-east and Borno in particular.

Appreciating their visit to the state, Mr. Shettima said the media misquoted him in the report.

He said he did not include UNICEF or any of the top UN organisations in the list of the NGOs he wanted out of Borno state.

In his speech, Mr. Kallon, implored Governor Shettima on the need to understand the dynamics of the politics surrounding humanitarian services.

He also asked the governor to be wary of the media, which he said could stall efforts being made to channel more funding and supports for the victims of Boko Haram.

“I want to touch on the issue of media; I know the media issue has been a controversy,” said the UN Country Representative.

“And I want to bring to your notice that the crisis we are managing here is also competing with emergencies in other parts of the world; for example Syria, Sudan, Myanmar, etc.

“For example the Syria fund that will be launched in March or April this year is about $6 billion. The South Sudan appeal will be asking for about $3 billion to $4 billion.

Mr. Kallon was uneasy with what he described as “extremely too liberal” nature of the Nigerian media.

“So I am really appealing to your government that we need to speak with one voice. As we say in West Africa, if we allow the media to shoot us in our legs, we are not going to be able to walk. Because this is what is happening now…and if we continue to send out different languages with different messages, it is not going to help all of us.

“So I really need your support and that of your administration, for us to speak with one voice and come together as strategic partners.

“I am a West African, but the media in Nigeria is too liberal; is extremely liberal; and they can say anything. I am so impressed with such vibrancy of media in Nigeria.”

Mr. Kallon said the UN has since last year scaled up its humanitarian support in especially North-east Nigeria to about 100 percent since his arrival to the country.

He urged Governor Shettima to always consult them, being experts in the humanitarian business, anytime he has questions or observed something he is not pleased with.

He said Borno government and the UN must always speak with one voice, as having contrasting views on the same issue might scare donors away.

“One thing you have to know about the humanitarian business is that it is a big, big politics. UN are now stabilizing their staffs here by bringing in their permanent staff; they are trying to bring their staff from Syria and other places – people who have the experience in dealing with the humanitarian business.

“I have done this job for more than 29 years, and one thing I can tell you is that, in Nigeria you know how to do your business, but not like the humanitarian business – it is politics. Yes, very big politics. And the only way we can beat the politics is to be on the same page and we speak with one voice.

“Because all what the external actors are waiting for, is to have different views…which is not going to help us moving ahead.

“So I will want to work with you, your excellency to address any remaining challenges on effective coordination on the ground, resource mobilization is our priority; humanitarian access, and because we speak with one voice, Your Excellency, we ought to tell them our story coherently and articulately.

“This is a challenge I have seen in Nigeria, we are not telling our story coherently”.

Mr. Kallon urged Governor Shettima to be soft on the NGOs, stressing that much as they have their shortcomings, they could still be very useful in dispensing humanitarian services.

“The NGOs are our partners with choice; some of them are good,” he said.

“It is just like when you have children; there are good ones and there are trouble makers. But you just have manage them all. And managing them is our job here on the ground.

“Your Excellency, if you want any information on the activities of these people as our Mr. Peter, our coordinator here, and I am sure he will give you the information, you can then cross check. And if you are not happy, that is why we are here.

Governor Shettima said he was “very sorry” for the embarrassment his statement about nonperforming NGOs might have caused the UN system.

“The media are our necessary evil; they are our friend that have stood by us during our dark days of Boko Haram insurgency. But we all know how they operate; they are not interested in hearing me praise UN, all they want is to hear me lambast the UN so that they can have some catchy headlines to sell their news.

“I appreciate the UN, they have been our allies in this crisis. There is no way I could have disparaged the UN. But I insist that the other 126 NGOs that are not doing anything but smiling to banks in the name of Borno must either leave or do the needful.

Mr. Shettima said he was impressed with the vision the UN has for Borno state and as such his government will be disposed to working with them. He added that all that his government wants from the UN is supports in kind not in cash.

“I do not want you to give us money in any form”, he said. “All we want from you is bring in what ever assistance you want to give my people; let your officials monitor how they are being executed.”


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  • Uwaoma, Chigozie

    The Northerners and Muslims, in particular, formed Boko Haram; they know exactly what they are doing…
    I think these guys are not normal.
    How can you derive pleasure in bloodletting? How? How? How?
    Buhari and Co, Howwwwwwwwww?

    • Abdullah Musa

      And we also believe that people with your type of jaundiced view are not normal.

      • Uwaoma, Chigozie

        Abdullah Musa I am grateful that you confirmed that you guys formed Boko Haram…
        So, answer the question; Why do you guys derive pleasure in bloodletting?
        What gain do you derive in killing your fellow human beings?
        Why must you kill? Abdullah, Whyyyyyyyyyy?

        • Abdullah Musa

          I am not confirming anything to you.
          I am a Muslim, I have never killed anyone in my life.
          You must be a Biafran, God knows how many you have killed over your demonic ambitions.
          Those who established Boko Haram are misguided like you Biafrans.
          It is a question of kettle calling the pot black.

          • Uwaoma, Chigozie

            Adbullah Musa, I ask you again;
            why do you guys derive pleasure in bloodletting?
            Why do you guys derives pleasure in killing your fellow human beings?
            Why do you guys form Boko Haram?
            Abdullah, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?????

          • Christina Merideth

            Liar! We see what you have done, and I don’t even live there!! The world is starting to see the bullshit this government and Muslims are doing! We are all sick of it- the world will shake soon, and you will feel the wrath and lay with those demons you choose to follow! The clock is ticking!! Tick tick tick.. Biafra people will rise with the help of people all over the world. Americans have taken notice as well, and you will fall..

          • Abdullah Musa

            Our destiny is in the Hands of our Creator.
            We fear not any brainwashed person whose head had been kidnapped by others.
            I have no abusive word to throw at you.
            I only pity you for willingly losing your rational faculties.

  • Abdullah Musa

    Shettima, you should have walked your talk.
    They create chaos in other parts of the world to create employment for their busy bodies.
    Unfortunately since you are in their trap you have to tread cautiously, else they actively turn against you.

    • blueeyedkitten

      did you even read this at all?

  • tsunami1earthquake

    Great that this governor apologized. I have always had respect for this governor even though I would not hesitate to chide and criticize him any time he steps out of turn, like I had just done some few days ago in relation to this case.

    It takes a man of honour to say, “I am sorry”, when he goes wrong. Kudos!

    • blueeyedkitten

      He didnt go wrong. Infact, he repeated thesame thing he said.
      Read again, but this time, please read between the lines….

      “Governor Shettima said he was “very sorry” for the embarrassment his
      statement about nonperforming NGOs might have caused the UN system.”

      “I appreciate the UN, they have been our allies in this crisis. There is
      no way I could have disparaged the UN. But I insist that the other 126
      NGOs that are not doing anything but smiling to banks in the name of
      Borno must either leave or do the needful.”

  • Decimator

    “I do not want you to give us money in any form”, he said. “All we want from you is bring in what ever assistance you want to give my people; let your officials monitor how they are being executed.”

    Exactly the issue, I have patiently read through to get the core of the misunderstanding, and behold here we go.

    Gov. Shettima seems to want the UN assistance to be brought in, but to be handed over to him and his staffs and cronies of the Borno state government to decide on how and who to distribute it to, while the UN hence fort after handing over the said assistance, stands by to monitor or rather observe the distribution, but should not get involved in the distribution itself.

    I hope I have not misquoted him this time as they are claiming, if so please correct me.

    And if so we can see the typical entitlement mentality we have been complaining of, where people are always and only interested in reaping, where they either did not sow at all or even where they sowed seeds of destruction and whores for their fellow citizens as in this case. Shettima´s interest seems basically to be the distribution of the UN and other assistance period.

    Should it not have been satisfactory enough to Shettima that the UN is distributing its own assistance to his people in need? Should the UN have deposited their assistance to him and his agencies that will basically carter the donations away for their private gain?

    This added to the unwarranted accusation of the UN, of over exaggeration of the humanitarian crises in the North east by Mohammadu Buhari himself can best be described as INGRATITUDE TO THE VERY CORE!!!!!
    By those who should be the most concerned as authorities of the day but chose to derive satisfaction and personal gains in the whores they created for their citizens. Sorry

    But should otherwise the UN bring in their assistance and distribute it themselves with their staffs to the people in need without interference
    from Gov. Shettima and his cronies and to the satisfaction of the very people in need, one would simply ask, where then is the problem?

    • blueeyedkitten

      i read your comment and you’re making cry with your level of unreasoning. you’re a very terrible reader!

      • Decimator

        You are welcomed to state your own Opinion. OK

  • blueeyedkitten

    our media with their twisted news! Alhamdulillah some of us are not that gullible.

  • asuevie

    “Mr. Kallon urged Governor Shettima to be soft on the NGOs, stressing
    that much as they have their shortcomings, they could still be very
    useful in dispensing humanitarian services.”

    This statement is similar to what some of us preached about the GEJ administration compared in focus to what Nigerians are experiencing today in Buhari’s administrations.

  • emmanuel

    This man neva know anything, one day very soon, the UN Guys would use their contcts to trace this mans stolen wealth and he would be extradicted for trial. H ethink say, na APC/PDP politics he dey play