UN to probe alleged diversion of humanitarian funds in North East
United Nations yesterday said it would investigate alleged diversion of aids for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other victims of terrorism in Nigeria’s North east.
United Nations Assistant Secretary General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Mr. Toby Lanzer, gave the assurance during an interaction with newsmen in Abuja following his recent visit to some communities in Borno State.
Responding to the question of alleged diversion of funds meant for the North East, Lanzer stated that the body would commence investigation the moment it established cases of diversion.
Lanzer however, admitted that there has been a considerable improvement in some areas, particularly Bama, when compared to the situation during his earlier visit in April this year.
According to him, Bama is now, not just under the control of Nigerian authorities, safe and stable, but also, schools and clinics have reopened and attending to the needs of the people.
Lanzer said aid agencies have also stepped up their engagement. “For example, the World Food Programme is providing rations for more than 15, 000 people and the International Organization for Migration and the UN’s Refugee Agency have supported families to build hundreds of all-weather shelters.”
The Assistant Secretary-General was therefore optimistic that following the change of leadership in the UN team, more and direct assistance would reach the people.
He listed poverty and climate change as main causes of insurgency in the North East and called on the government, development and environmental organisations to work to resolve the situation.
Apart from humanitarian concerns to the UN, Lanzer revealed that the reemergence of polio was of great concern to the agency. Disappointed about the development, he described it as a huge setback both to Nigeria and the UN.
He noted that UN was close to declaring Nigeria a polio-free nation following the absence of the disease in the last two years, Lanzer blamed the re-emergence on Boko Haram crisis which he said, made it difficult for aid workers to immunize children in areas under Boko Haram territory.
He however, assured that the UN would scale up efforts at tackling the challenge.