Nigerians displaced by Boko Haram resort to stealing food to survive

FILE PHOTO: A cross-section of internally displaced persons
FILE PHOTO: A cross-section of internally displaced persons

The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, in Borno has said that Internally Displaced Persons are now stealing foods in resident’s houses in the state capital.

The Commandant of the NSCDC, Ibrahim Abdullahi, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Maiduguri on Sunday.

Mr. Abdullahi said the command had so far recorded 10 complaints of food theft by residents of Jidari Polo Area in the state capital.

He said the command had arrested two culprits aged 25.

He said that the culprits invade people houses on Sundays during the time Christian faithful were in the church.

‘Mr. Abdullahi explained that the command had arrested some of them who were confirmed to be IDPs.

“What is very surprising is that they do not steal anything apart from food items.

“Anytime we hear of such incidents, we always discover everything to be intact in the houses but the foodstuffs are stolen.

“The culprits are IDPs who mostly taken refuge in host communities,” Mr. Abdullahi said.

He added the NSCDC would be working round the clock to nip all forms of crimes in the area.

Millions of people have been displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency which has caused the death of about 20,000 people since 2009.

Some of the displaced persons have been returning to their homes since the Nigerian military retook territory once controlled by Boko Haram.

Food has always been a major challenge for the over two million IDPs currently living in various camps and host communities in Borno and other northern states.

The Government of Borno State, the major base of the Boko Haram insurgency, had claimed that it spends at least N600 million monthly to feed the IDPs, but the inmates had been consistent in their cries for better feeding arrangement in the camps.

The nearly 200, 000 IDPs currently being housed in various camps in Maiduguri for about two years now, have gradually become a huge burden to both the Borno State and Federal Governments of Nigeria. Both tiers of government have stated their eagerness to see a quick end to the ongoing insurgency so that the IDPs could be relocated back to their communities.

The United States Agency for International Development, USAID, Mission Director, Michael Harvey, was in Borno State last week where he announced the agency’s commitment to spend over $200 million (N40 billion) in providing education, provision of healthcare, water supplies and sanitation for the displaced persons.

USAID had in 2015 donated about $10.2 million (N2.08 billion) to the government of Nigeria for the same purpose.

Going by the N600 million feeding bills it had picked monthly, before the federal government began to intervene through NEMA, the Borno State Government and the Federal Government may have spent at least N7. 2 billion for feeding displaced persons in 2015.

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