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Boko Haram: Presidency slams foreign agencies on IDPs starvation claim

The Presidency has accused some aid agencies providing some humanitarian assistance to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East, of raising false alarm about mass starvation in the camps.
The Presidency said though it appreciates the increasing humanitarian assistance from the aid agencies which are  complementary to the efforts of the federal and state governments in the North East, a region it acknowledges is in the middle of a humanitarian crisis, it will not tolerate any hype meant only to attract funds rather that proffer solutions.
It described as uncharitable and unnecessary attempts to portray the government as doing nothing even as hundreds of people of even a million are at the risk of dying.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistance on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in a statement said the Presidency is particularly unhappy with one of the United Nations (UN)agencies which raised the alarm that 100,000 people will die of starvation in 2017.
“We are concerned about blatant attempts to whip up a non-existent fear of mass starvation by some aid agencies, a type of hype that does not provide solution to the situation on the ground but more to do with calculations for operations financing locally and abroad.
“There can be no doubt that the effect of the Boko Haram terrorism and their occupation of communities and destruction of houses, infrastructure and means of livelihood has been manifested in the decline of socio-economic activities throughout the North-East.
“Arising from this, farming, pastoralism, trade, exchange of goods and services and social interaction among the people have negatively been impacted leading to the displacement of more than two million people, mostly women and children.
“Consequently, there is death, there is hunger and there is poor nutrition.
“The displacement pattern, as revealed by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) indicates that there are currently about two million people who are displaced.
“Only about 20 per cent of this is however in IDP camps.
This much reduced numbers are in Borno in 13 formal and 16 satellite camps; four of such camps currently operating in Adamawa and about the same number in Yobe.
“The larger number of the IDP population is living either in self-settled camps or with host communities.
“The affected states with active collaboration with NEMA and the recently inaugurated Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative (PCNI) are deeply involved in efforts to cushion the humanitarian challenges especially on food security and nutrition.
“Through an ongoing arrangement, NEMA provides raw food items to IDPs at formal camps, self-settled centers, host communities and satellite centers. The states on their part provide condiments, firewood and maintain environmental quality of the IDP camps.
“Beyond the IDP camps, government agencies are  distributing food in host communities. The T.Y Danjuma-led PCNI is currently doing this in Borno state at the time of writing.
“In addition to the supply of food, the Federal Government through NEMA and the PCNI has made the provision of drugs to some major hospitals in the zone as a priority.
“These agencies have also been deploying on continuous basis, medical teams and equipment to the North-East to support the provision of medicare to the IDPs.
“There are also search and rescue vehicles in service in the region as well as the deployment of a revolving fund at major hospitals in Maiduguri and Yola to ensure full treatment of victims of insurgents’ attacks and sick IDPs.
“Government has also been providing skills and empowerment equipment to IDPs side by side with education for children in camps and the U.N Safe Schools Initiative (SSI)”.
Shehu said, while the humanitarian situation in the North east was already complex and challenging, there was no doubt that the recent successes by the Nigerian military against the terrorists has led to the release of thousands of people held against their wish in the forests.
“The captives come to government camps famished, ragged, poorly nourished and mostly ill, released from the hunger and acute shortages of basic necessities of life on account of the effective sieges of Sambisa forest by the military.
“So while local and international humanitarian responders including the United Nations have done an immeasurable amount of effort filling in the gaps wherever they existed, it is not true as these reports have indicated that 100,000 or even a million people will die because government is unable to provide care at the camps. This country has a responsible government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, which is doing a lot to bring relief to the displaced people.
“The Nigerian Government which has been making the most efforts in the entire endeavour will continue to work closely with the local and international response groups to overcome this humanitarian crisis.
“At this time when the focus is gradually shifting to towards rehabilitation, reconstruction, resettlement, recovery and the dignified return of IDPs back home, we can do with all the support out there in the donor community. We do not, however see the reason for the theories and hyperbolic claims being made ostensibly to draw donor support by some of the aid agencies.
“The situation on the ground, as it exists, provides sufficient motivation to all well-meaning donors to come and do a decent part. The hype, especially that which suggests that the government is doing nothing is therefore uncharitable and unnecessary”.

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