Nigeria’s Borno state to limit food, aid distribution

NIGERIA’s northeastern Borno state will bar non-governmental organizations from distributing food or aid to resettled displaced people, the governor said in a circular seen by Reuters.

In the order, dated December 6, Governor Babagana Zulum said blocking aid to resettled communities was part of an effort towards “empowering people and giving them dignity to buy their own food”.

“No partner organization, either local, national or international shall henceforth be allowed to embark on distribution of food and non-food items in any of our newly resettled communities across the state,” the circular said. “Food distribution will only be allowed in (internally displaced person) IDP camps and IDPs in host communities for now.”

A spokesman for the governor did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

There are more than 1.5 million internally displaced people in Borno state, the epicentre of Nigeria’s 12-year battle against Islamist insurgents. Zulum aims to close the camps housing them in the capital, Maiduguri, by the end of the year, which would mean resettling tens of thousands of people.

The World Food Programme warned in April that roughly 800,000 of the nearly 2.7 million people it has identified as being at risk of famine are in Nigeria’s northeastern states.

The WFP said a 30% jump in West African food prices since last year, to their highest levels in nearly a decade, had intensified food insecurity. It said prices spiked due to coronavirus lockdowns and a decline in cereal production.

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