Zulum Solicits Federal Support For 800,000 Displaced Persons In Need Of Food
Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno State has pleaded with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for urgent intervention to feed about 800,000 persons displaced by the ravaging Boko Haram insurgency in 11 affected areas of the state.
A statement by Isa Gusau, the governor’s media aide on Friday said Zulum made the plea in a letter he delivered to NEMA’s director general, Muhammadu Mohammed during his visit to the agency’s headquarters in Abuja, a day earlier.
In the letter, Zulum told Mohammed that displaced persons “in Monguno, Bama, Damboa, Gwoza, Dikwa, Gamboru, Ngala, Damasak, Banki, Pulka and Gajiram currently need urgent access to food supplies despite sustained efforts by Borno State Government, which combines humanitarian challenges with addressing other provision basic needs across the state”.
The decades-long Boko Haram insurgency in Borno has resulted in food insecurity in the state as recurrent attacks from the terrorist group continue to deter the displaced persons from cultivating their farmlands where their livelihoods lie.
According to the International Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) report, published in April 2019, severe food insecurity was reported “highest” in Borno, Yobe and other northern states the insurgency continues to ravage on.
Up to 5.1 million people risk being critically food insecure in Borno during the next lean season (June – August 2021), according to the UN agency charged with humanitarian affairs, UNOCHA.
While the governor had consistently called for the empowerment of the displaced persons and the fixing of infrastructural deficit in the region, he noted that food interventions have to be sustained for now since the IDPs’ livelihoods are being shattered because “they cannot access their farmlands due to insurgents”.
The governor, however, acknowledged interventions from NEMA, the Northeast Development Commission (NEDC) and far reaching efforts by the Nigerian Customs Service following presidential directive two years ago, that food seizures be used for humanitarian support in crisis areas.
In his address, NEMA’s DG applauded the governor’s commitment and dedication to returning Borno to normalcy.
“If you go into Maiduguri, you will be shocked, you wouldn’t believe you are in Maiduguri. I have been to Maiduguri with a special assistant to Mr President from a particular state, he looked at me and said, can you please borrow this Zulum of a man to us?
“I am sure every state will like to have this gentleman Professor as a Governor. If there is one gentleman everybody envies, whether they are able to do what he does or not, it is Professor Zulum.
“And the simple fact is that we all know what is right and what is wrong is wrong and what is right can only be achieved with the fear of God,” Muhammadu was quoted as saying.
Zulum is one of the first governors to domesticate the use of armed NSCDC personnel as agro rangers, for protection of farming activities in parts of the state, which led to increased economic efforts of the IDPs.
But recurrent terrorist attacks reversed the situation, forcing thousands of displaced farmers to rely on food aid.
The DG assured the governor of the agency’s support to the state, particularly in the actualisation of Borno’s 25-year Development Plan unveiled recently, the statement said.
“Your Excellency, every staff of NEMA is willing at all times to give you 100% support in everything you need. You have been very hardworking,” the DG said.
“I assure you that the President, Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces has given us the mandate, he has given us the resources and has said it many times to do everything possible to support what you do, and key into the Borno State 25-year Development Plan.”
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