Nigeria Investigates Squandered Aid Funds

Onize Ohikere | WORLD News Service | Monday, October 10, 2016
Nigeria Investigates Squandered Aid Funds

Nigeria Investigates Squandered Aid Funds

The Nigerian Senate on Oct. 4 said it will investigate the diversion of government funds intended to provide aid to people displaced by Boko Haram’s insurgency in the northeast.

Lawmakers agreed to the probe after a state senator claimed several agencies that received government funds to provide assistance to displaced persons cannot account for more than $1 million.

Sen. Bashir Gabai from Borno state, Boko Haram’s birthplace, accused the agencies involved of using the money for their personal interests.

“The rather incoherent and largely fragmented state of the procurement process so far points to a vague and corrupt scheme that is not in line with helping out people in the northeast,” his motion for the investigation stated.

Gabai said someone diverted 63 trucks carrying grains for displaced persons in camps in the state. The motion also listed some 21 companies that won government contracts to aid in resettlement but have no proof of ever executing their projects. In one instance, Gabai claims the government paid a company more than $370,000 to supply temporary shelters in the region but has no record of any shelters being built.

Boko Haram’s insurgency has killed more than 20,000 people and displaced more than 2 million others. The United Nations Children’s Fund last week said 75,000 children could die within the next year due to the famine-like conditions triggered by Boko Haram’s attacks in the northeast.

Early last month, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned camp officials and agencies that exploit displaced persons and called on security officials to apprehend offenders. But misconduct continues.

Woroma Tijani, a displaced man currently residing at the Dalori camp in Borno state, told Nigeria’s Premium Times that camp officials hoard food meant for residents.

“The measure of grains or rice they give a family for two or three days aren’t enough for just a day,” he said. “But everyday at night, we see them sneaking out food and taking them outside.”

Fatima Uba, who fled to the camp from the town of Bama, said camp officials sell the food at local markets.

“The officials won’t listen to our complaints each time we tried to report the matter because they make money from the sales,” she said.

The Senate committee will present its findings at a public hearing in coming weeks.


Courtesy: WORLD News Service

Publication date: October 10, 2016