- President Buhari is deeply saddened that reports by local and international humanitarian agencies make it appear as if the government is at all caring for the people in the devasated northeast region
- Buhari said the facts are being exaggerated and heavily distorted in order for the agencies like UN to make financial gains
President Muhammadu Buhari has disagreed with reports by local and international humanitarian agencies on the level of crisis in the devastated northeast region of Nigeria.
Premium Times quotes the president as saying on Sunday, December 4 that the reports were grossly exaggerated in order for the agencies to make financial gains.
In a statement signed by his senior special assistant on media and publicity Garba Shehu, President Buhari faulted the findings of the UN and other agencies.
The statement read: “We are concerned about the blatant attempts to whip up a non-existent fear of mass starvation by some aid agencies, a type of hype that does not provide a solution to the situation on the ground but more to do with calculations for operations financing locally and abroad.
“In a recent instance, one arm of the United Nations screamed that 100,000 people will die due to starvation next year. A different group says a million will die.”
“So while local and international humanitarian responders including the United Nations have done an immeasurable amount of effort filling in the gaps wherever they existed, it is not true as these reports have indicated that 100,000 or even a million people will die because the government is unable to provide care at the camps.
“This country has a responsible government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, which is doing a lot to bring relief to the displaced people.”
It added: “There can be no doubt that the effect of the Boko Haram terrorism and their occupation of communities and destruction of houses, infrastructure and means of livelihood has been manifested in the decline of socio-economic activities throughout the North-East.
“Arising from this, farming, pastoralism, trade, exchange of goods and services and social interaction among the people have negatively been impacted leading to the displacement of more than two million people, mostly women and children. Consequently, there is death, there is hunger and there is poor nutrition.
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“The Nigerian government which has been making the most efforts in the entire endeavour will continue to work closely with the local and international response groups to overcome this humanitarian crisis. At this time when the focus is gradually shifting to towards rehabilitation, reconstruction, resettlement, recovery and the dignified return of IDPs back home, we can do with all the support out there in the donor community.”
The president’s knocks comes just days after the United Nations warned that over 5 million Nigerians in the northeast could die from food shortages in 2017.
“A projected 5.1 million people will face serious food shortages as the conflict and risk of unexploded improvised devices prevented farmers planting for the third year in a row, causing a major food crisis,” the U.N. Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator Peter Lundberg had said in a statement on Friday, December 2.