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WFP threatens to halve food rations for North East IDPs

By Joke Falaju (Abuja) and Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri)
18 October 2021   |   4:12 am
The World Food Programme (WFP) may cut food rations and reduce the number of people it serves in the North East states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa by 50 per cent, if it fails to receive at least $55 million in a matter of weeks.

[FILES] IDPs

7,836 flood victims get farm inputs from NEMA
The World Food Programme (WFP) may cut food rations and reduce the number of people it serves in the North East states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa by 50 per cent, if it fails to receive at least $55 million in a matter of weeks.

This is coming as severe hunger reaches a five-year high in the country due to conflict and insecurity, worsened by the socio-economic fallout of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), high food prices and limited food supply.

According to the National Communications Officer, WFP, Mr. Kelechi Onyemaobi, to sustain humanitarian operations in North East Nigeria till March 2022, WFP urgently requires $197 million.

WFP’s Regional Director for West Africa, Chris Nikoi, sounded the warning, at the weekend, following his visit to Nigeria.

He said: “Cutting rations means choosing who gets to eat and who goes to bed hungry. We are seeing funding for our life-saving humanitarian work dry up just when hunger is at its most severe.”

Moreover, he stated that the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East had been on a steady rise, as it reached all-time high of over 2 million in September 2021, while current food security analyses show that 4.4 million people in are hungry, and over one million children malnourished.

THE National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has delivered farm inputs to 7,836 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Borno State.

The distribution of inputs was to cushion the effect of the 2020 flood that hit 11 local councils of the state.

While presenting the agricultural equipment and fertilisers to Governor Babagana Zulum at the weekend in Maiduguri, Director-General of NEMA, Ahmed Habib, disclosed: “Today, we’re delivering 2,464 kilogrammes each of rice, cowpea and sorghum improved seeds with 4,924 litres of growth enhancers,” adding that 16,004 litres of herbicides and pesticides would be distributed to prevent pre-harvest losses.

According to him, other farm inputs include 247 water pumps and 1,231 each of knapsack sprayers for cowpea and sorghum in the flood-affected councils.

Zulum, however, suggested that the state’s Ministry of Agriculture, SEMA and the 27 local councils screen the IDP farmers before distributing the inputs.

He warned that none of the inputs be sold in the market and host communities.

Speaking on the closure of IDP camps, he said that three had been shut, while the remaining in Maiduguri metropolis would be shut before the end of the year.