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Borno Governor begs NEMA for food assistance to feed 800,000 IDPs

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Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno has appealed for urgent intervention by the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, on the plight of about 800,000 displaced people in need of food in areas affected by insurgency in the state.

The information is in a statement by Isa Gusau, the governor’s Special Adviser on Communications and Strategy, on Friday in Maiduguri.

Mr Gusau stated that the governor made the appeal in a letter he presented during a visit to NEMA headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, where he informed the agency’s boss about the critical needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 11 towns.

The governor’s aide noted that “Gov. Zulum in a letter, informed NEMA’s Director General, Retired AVM Muhammadu Alhaji Mohammed,  that IDPs in Monguno, Bama, Damboa, Gwoza, Dikwa, Gamboru, Ngala, Damasak, Banki, Pulka and Gajiram need urgent access to food supplies.”

Mr Gusau stated that the governor had, however, acknowledged interventions made by NEMA, the North East Development Commission and efforts by the Nigerian Customs Service, following presidential directive two years ago that food seizures be used for humanitarian support in crises areas.

He said: “Zulum also noted that food interventions must be sustained because majority of IDPs rely on agriculture as means of livelihood, and substantial portions of them cannot access their farmlands due to insurgents’ attacks.”

He quoted the director general of NEMA as assuring the Borno governor of sustained support, and lauded the efforts of Zulum’s administration toward transforming the state through a well thought out development plan.

The NEMA boss also assured Zulum of the agency’s support, particularly in the actualisation of the state’s recently unveiled 25 year development plan.

Meanwhile, Mr Zulum had also met the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, on inter-governmental efforts for repatriation of thousands of Borno citizens displaced by insurgency, presently taking refuge in Cameroon in the last six years.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that there are more than 60,000 of such refugees in Minawawo camp in Cameroon, waiting to be evacuated.

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