How officials steal food meant for people displaced by Boko Haram, IDPs narrate

IDPs
IDPs

Internally displaced persons in Borno State, sacked from their communities by Boko Haram, have accused camp officials of continuously stealing and selling food meant for them.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in early September ordered the new Inspector General of Police to arrest all persons accused of stealing food meant for IDPs in the state.

The order was given shortly after the Nigerian Senate fumed over the same theft cases in the displaced persons’ camps.

Officials managing IDP camps within and around Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, have always denied allegations of diverting food donated for the feeding of the displaced persons, mostly women and children.

The Medicines Sans Frontier last week issued a second statement this year in which it claimed hundreds of children with acute malnutrition face the risk of dying due to lack of sufficient relief aids and water.

But in Dalori camp, one of the largest in Borno State, residents said officials continued to keep them in hunger and deprivation because food items were being stolen secretly from the stores at night and taken to the open market for sale.

This was made known when the wife of the Borno State Governor, Nana Shettima, visited some of the camps on Tuesday to monitor the special feeding system for minors which was introduced when a Senate committee led by Oluremi Tinubu visited the camps last week.

The visiting senators had donated N2 million to help the children under the age of seven feed properly.

Mrs. Shettima’s task was to ensure the mainly protein meals get to the kids.

The displaced persons, however, seized the moment to speak about their plight to the press.

Woroma Tijjani, a male IDP in his 60s, said the food being dished out was grossly insufficient.

“The measure of grains or rice they give a family, for two or three days aren’t enough for just a day. But everyday at night we see them sneaking out our food and taking them outside.”

Fatima Uba, a female IDP from Bama, said, “We know government do bring enough food into the camp and are being kept in the stores here; but they won’t bring out enough food for us to cook and eat.”

“The women in the kitchen won’t give us the raw food items to cook by ourselves. Instead, they would rather cook in the kitchen and then dish out portions that won’t be enough for us to feed.

“At night they usually connive with the store officials who would sneak out the food at night and the women would go to sell them for N800 ($2) a measure in the market.

“The officials too won’t listen to our complaints each time we tried to report the matter, because they make so much money from the sales.”

Earlier in August, there was a protest by displaced persons after which the Borno State Government banned central cooking of meals for the displaced persons

The government introduced household feeding system which allows the displaced persons to cook their own food, after receiving uncooked portions from camp officials.

gov-shettimaIn June, the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, ordered the investigation and possible prosecution of camp officials accused of stealing from the camps’ food store.

It is unclear if the investigation panel, made up of the police and other security agencies, carried out the governor’s order.

Despite the earlier reports, the camp officials still steal food meant for IDPS, the displaced persons said.

An angry IDP, Ibrahim Ali, a retired local government worker, said, “it might be very difficult to stop them because the system is corrupted.”

“They always know how to cover their dirty tracks here in the camp because government officials lack the routine inspection system.”

Mr. Ali said the corrupt officials know beforehand when an investigation or inspection team is visiting, and they would quickly make things up.

“We don’t always get access to the top officials each time they come here.”


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  • abdul

    Until capital punishment is introduced and implemented for corruption Chinese style we ain’t going no where! Even when you jail corrupt officials a new govt would come and say hey let’s release them in the spirit of reconciliation, and they become heroes again another merry go round! Capital punishment is the only way out.

  • Arabakpura

    They should apply sharia law on those people! Aim to amputate limbs and heads!

    The government should also be careful so that some people don’t aspire to be perpetual IDPs!

    • Teflonjones

      Sharia is meant for the poor and helpless. These guys enjoy the support of government officials in high places.

  • Stanley

    When you put a hungry goat to be in charge of yam, what do you expect?

  • Rommel

    Anyone that is stealing from such vulnerable people is already mentally displaced

    • kusanagi

      The majority of citizens in Nigeria are mentally displaced.

  • Toujours Nice

    nigeria the great giant of evil in Africa

  • Peter OBI vs Mohammadu BUHARI

    **** P. OBI
    On so called Independence day, (October 1) Peter Obi the Ex-Governor of Anambra State spoke for an approximate 1hr 20mins without reading from any paper. In fact, he had NO summary notes with him from which he picked his points. He spoke from his brain (memory). And he gave statistics with figures and all are verifiable. He was composed, well articulating and precise.

    **** M. BUHARI
    On same day, Mohammadu Buhari gave a speech too. His was a prepared speech with nothing, I mean nothing to remember. A pedestrian speech lacking in substance. No direction, no plan, no statistic and worse of all, no motivation or inspiration. The only time Buhari ever attempted to give a speech was in “West Germany” and it was after he saw Obama, Angela and others speak without prepared speeches. We all know what happened, every word need surgical operation and the old man disgraced all of us. People like him should not be allowed near the corridors of governance.

    If Peter Obi were to contest Presidency with a Buhari, how many people from the West (Youruba) and the North (Hausa) or the South (Niger Delta) will vote for him? Will you not be blighted by ethnic jaundice? Let me know your sincere response.

  • michro

    Too bad

  • kusanagi

    Welcome to Nigeria.

    This is what many have been saying for so long. STEALING and CORRUPTION isn’t really a gov’t problem. It’s in the average citizen. It’s part of the psyche.Children are taught it by their parents and peers at school.

    This reads like a microcosm of the stealing that goes on everywhere. In most homes, in all institutions. Literally any opportunity to steal and the average citizen will seize it even if it means others have to suffer.

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  • thusspokez

    President Muhammadu Buhari had in early September ordered the new Inspector General of Police to arrest all persons accused of stealing food meant for IDPs in the state

    The Nigerian is beyond redemption; corruption has become embedded like virus in their psyche. The question then is what do you do with someone carrying an incurable and infectious disease?

  • Udom

    This is absolutely deplorable. Is there a limit to how low Nigerians are willing to sink in their quest to be corrupt? How does one feel so brazen to steal food from children, orphans and the poor? It is symtomatic of how our society operates far away from these camps. These thefts are glaring examples of how our government (despite the good intention) promotes illegal activities by enacting a programme, without first ensuring that it has provided adequate measures to ensure its success.

    This is a camp for displaced Nigerians in the midst of a war zone. One would think the government would place security at the top of its agenda regarding those unfortunate citizens. The fact that we’ve had numerous complaints against officials should have galvanised the government to do something urgently to address the theft issues. It is patently evident that this is not the case.

    I’ll make the following suggestions to the government:
    1. Embed within the refugees investigative personnel that will document these allegations.

    2. Install infra-red cameras inside and outside of the food storage areas to monitor movements.

    Severe punishment for theft (which we grossly lack in our judicial system) should be brought to bear on any officials implicated in this sordid affair. This, hopefully would act as a deterrent.

    • thusspokez

      This is absolutely deplorable. Is there a limit to how low Nigerians are willing to sink in their quest to be corrupt?

      Apparently, no!