The Nigerian Air Force is to commence air-dropping of food relief to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in difficult to reach locations of Borno State, an official has said.
The Minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, Sadiya Farouq, mentioned this on Saturday in Maiduguri, Borno State, while supervising the commencement of food and condiments distribution to 152,402 internally displaced persons.
The minister arrived at Maiduguri international airport late Saturday evening where she inspected the fleet of Air Force cargo planes that would be air dropping the food items.
The minister also watched a simulated air drop of food from an air force helicopter before she departed the airport for a meeting with the Borno State governor.
Precious Amadi, an air commodore, who was in charge of the simulation exercise said the Nigeria Air Force is capable of dropping food and non-food aid material to IDPs in remote locations identified by the state government.
Speaking to journalists, Ms Farouq said the latest deployment of food to IDPs was in response to recent restriction of movement to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic and inaccessibility of communities due to floods and insecurity.
She said, “vulnerable persons, especially the IDPs, may require further support in terms of necessities, including food from the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The minister listed the food items brought to the state to comprise 26,067 bags of 12.5kg parboiled rice, 26,067 bags of 25kg beans, 26,067 bags of 12.5kg maize/millet, 1,304 bags of 20kg iodized salt, 2,607 – 20L kegs of vegetable oil, 4,345 cartons of seasoning cubes and 2,173 tinned tomato cartons.
The minister said the food items are meant to cater for 26,067 households with a total population of 156,402.
The Nigerian government had in September outlined the challenges faced by NGOs operating in the North-east to include insecurity, floods or terrain, which it said could be mitigated with the support of the security services.