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19 June 2017

‘Half’ Nigeria food aid for Boko Haram victims not delivered

People queue for food in Bama, Nigeria, on December 8, 2016 queue for food at a distribution pointImage copyright
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Millions of displaced people rely on food aid in Nigeria

Up to half the food aid meant for people who have fled Nigeria’s Islamist insurgency has reportedly been diverted, the government says.

It described it as a “diversion of relief materials”, which correspondents say is a euphemism for theft.

A statement from the acting president’s office added that security was being beefed up to protect the deliveries.

As a result of an Islamist militant insurgency some 8.5 million Nigerians in the north-east need life-saving aid.

Last week, Nigeria apologised to Saudi Arabia after 200 tonnes of dates the kingdom sent as a Ramadan gift were found on sale in local markets.

Poor rains have exacerbated a problem caused by fighting with Boko Haram militants, which has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

The statement from acting President Yemi Osinbajo said aid going missing had “dogged food delivery” and then cited reports saying that more than 50 lorries out of every 100 sent to the north-east never reach their destination.

It does not say what has happened to the diverted food, but in May two Nigerian officials were jailed for selling food aid.

Mr Osinbajo said that the latest consignment of aid which is making its way to the north-east is being protect by more than a thousand soldiers.

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