---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "IRIN" <he...@irinnews.org>
Date: 2 Dec 2016 09:02
Subject: Boko Haram food crisis demands cooperation and accountability ...
To: "ElisabethJanaina" <elisabethjana...@gmail.com>

Today's humanitarian news and analysis

*Online version
Boko Haram food crisis demands cooperation and accountability

Snatched schoolgirls and suicide bomb blasts have long been the enduring
images of Nigeria’s Boko Haram conflict. But now the violence is
represented by thousands of new faces: those of starving children.

Scenes like these haven’t been seen here since the 1967-70 war with
secessionist Biafra.

As many as 4.5 million people need food aid in the northeast of the
country, according to the UN’s World Food Programme. It warns that “famine-like
may be occurring in remote pockets of the region.

Food shortages are the inevitable consequence of the seven-year insurgency
that has displaced more than 2.5 million people.

Several planting seasons have passed with little farming activity
in the affected states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. The conflict areas are
hard to reach, but reports hint at the deliberate destruction of farm
production by both sides, as well as the targeting of civilians.

The Nigerian government’s focus on an almost exclusively military response
has Boko Haram on the run. With the help of neighbouring countries – Chad,
Cameroon, and Niger – most of the territory previously held by the
insurgents has been recovered.

But one major problem is that this military success has not been
accompanied by a rigorous de-mining programme. Fear of Boko Haram mines
means far from all the land is back in production, in what is an
agriculturally rich region.

The insurgents are also an ever-present threat in the countryside, beyond
the villages and towns. That has limited the humanitarian response to this
crisis, as well as the return of government services

Fearing infiltration, the authorities have severely restricted movement
around the settlements they have recaptured. Residents, mostly women and
children, have been evacuated into camps strictly supervised by security
forces. That has had a severe impact on the rural economy, along with
people’s freedom of movement.

Take Baga, a fishing settlement in northern Borno State, for example. It
was recovered by government forces in April 2015, after its
near-destruction by Boko Haram. But because of the security restrictions
imposed by the army, fishing has ground to a halt and trade with local
communities is prevented. Baga is running out of food.

The displacement camps and temporary settlements in Borno, most of them
crammed into the state capital, Maiduguri, have become huge internment
centers. Food supplies from the meagre harvests in areas less affected by
the conflict and relief materials donated by international and local aid
organisations fall woefully short of the needs of the displaced population.

As though the problems posed by the shortages are not bad enough, the
distribution of relief material is fraught with allegations of corruption,
mismanagement, fraud, and outright theft by government officials.

And rather than conducting transparent investigations and addressing the
problems, the federal and state authorities in charge of the camps have
issued blanket and vague denials.

[image: A severely malnourished child receives treatment in a clinic in
Banki, north-east Nigeria]
A severely malnourished child receives treatment in a clinic in Banki
Need for transparency

In July, a state official in Maiduguri told me that she could not discuss
the food supply for displaced people because the government had declared
the issue a “state secret”.

That response echoes the National Emergency Management Agency’s denial of a
Médecins Sans Frontières report highlighting the health crisis in June
among the displaced in the town of Bama, where it said up to 30 people were
dying daily from hunger and disease.

The head of NEMA, the federal agency responsible for responding to internal
crises, accused MSF
of using the report as a ploy to attract donor funding.

It was therefore gratifying to see the federal government respond quickly
and positively to a Human Rights Watch
report that detailed the sexual exploitation and abuse of displaced women
and girls by government officials. Police and intelligence officers were
swiftly deployed to investigate.

This response should set the tone for improved conduct by all officials
tasked with protecting and supporting displaced people. It presents a great
opportunity to institutionalise reforms in the vetting and training of
staff, reforms that prioritise accountability.
Long way to go

Aid programming must include gender and human rights awareness, and allow
for the thorough monitoring and investigation of abuse and misconduct,
including in food distribution.

There is still a long way to go. The latest news from Maiduguri is that the
state authorities – apparently unhappy about the negative publicity that
followed the sexual abuse report – have tightened restrictions around the

Rather than encouraging the protection of the rights of the displaced, the
authorities have presented local and international aid providers with new
requirements for their continued operations in Borno.

Nigeria is Africa’s richest country, but it needs all the help it can
muster to surmount the scale of this humanitarian tragedy. An international
aid appeal for $488 million is only 37 percent funded.

The people whose lives depend on this aid have a right to demand a more
honest and robust response when concerns are raised over the mismanagement
of relief.

Transparency and accountability must be non-negotiable.

Boko Haram food crisis demands cooperation and accountability
Segun <http:///authors/mausi-segun-0> Opinion <http:///opinion> Aid and
Policy <http:///aid-and-policy> Conflict <http:///conflict> Food
<http:///food> ABUJA <http:///publication-location/abuja> IRIN
<http:///byline/irin> Africa <http:///africa> West Africa
<http:///afrique/west-africa> Nigeria <http:///africa/west-africa/nigeria>

*Read on

More news and analysis
*Copyright © 2016 IRIN Association, All rights reserved.*

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences
or unsubscribe from this list

delivered to:  elisabethjana...@gmail.com

To post to this group, send email to southsudankob@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
Visit this group at https://groups.google.com/d/forum/southsudankob
View this message at 
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"South Sudan Info - The Kob" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email 
to southsudankob+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com.
To post to this group, send email to SouthSudanKob@googlegroups.com.
Visit this group at https://groups.google.com/group/SouthSudanKob.
To view this discussion on the web visit 
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

Reply via email to