A complaint has been written to Save the Children International over alleged preferential treatment carried out by one of its officials to beneficiaries of the charity in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria.
The complaint alleged that a food voucher was retrieved from a father of 13 and handed to a woman who also happens to be his ex-wife. An action that the father found puzzling. “I asked them whether the foundation was geared towards saving children, or saving women.”
Save the Children International is a humanitarian organisation concerned with giving children a healthy start in life, according to its website. Founded over 100 years ago, it is the first global organisation devoted solely to serving children’s needs, it states.
The complainant told HumAngle that a new supervisor came on board from the organisation to continue with the administration of the relief programme to them.
According to him, when the new supervisor, identified simply as Sunday, assumed position, he explained that he was going to be handling the food voucher to the man’s ex-wife even though she had no children under her care.
The complaint said he found it puzzling, as the NGO was supposedly only concerned with children. This act was going to leave him with 13 starving children, he complained.
“Last three months, various complaints similar to our own were addressed … but our own has not been considered,” the petition read.
He told HumAngle that upon complaining to the community head locally known as the Bulama when squabbles initially arose from the custody of the food voucher, the Bulama retrieved the voucher from him, enabling him to directly receive the food items.
However, he only remitted half the food items to complaint, who was unsure what usually happened to the other half.
HumAngle earlier reported how a similar pattern of preferential treatment had been detected in Dalori II camp, Borno State, amongst beneficiaries of the World Food Program’s (WFP) cash assistance programme.
Single mothers at the camp had reportedly been sidelined and denied relief items and those with husbands had been prioritised. This led to intense economic hardship for single mothers and their children.
The women complained that their multiple complaints were often treated with disregard and unfulfilled promises of better treatment.
Kumshe, one of the women, had told HumAngle that out of 250 of the women in the IDP camp, only about 10 of them had husbands. “How do you expect us to survive with our children?” She had lamented.
We have zero-tolerance for fraud – Save the Children
When contacted by HumAngle on the matter, Save the Children said it does not “condone such behaviours as the type allegedly displayed by the official involved, Mr Sunday.”
“Save the Children International uses different media to obtain feedback from both programme and non-programme beneficiaries about its program delivery. It has a zero-tolerance policy to fraud, and an anti-bribery policy that all staff and partners have to adhere to,” the organisation said in a statement sent to HumAngle.
“Any allegations reported through our reporting channels…are treated with utmost confidence and seriousness. Any allegations we receive are investigated and suitable actions are taken.”
The Communications Manager, Kunle Olawoyin, also told HumAngle that this particular case would be investigated.
This report is a partnership between HumAngle Media and Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) under the ‘Accountability Journalism & Investigative Reporting for Deepening Democracy and Development’ project.
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