Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Borno State Government was yesterday was to scrap its central feeding system at Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the state as hundreds of women took to the streets to protest their poor feeding.
The women IDPs took to the streets between 9a.m. and 1p.m., barricading the Maiduguri-Kano-Jos road, the major road leading into the town to protest what they claim was shortage of food supply to the Arabic Teachers College camp in the capital.
The protesters stood firm on the road and made it impassable for vehicles all through the duration of the protest.
The protest also nearly grounded business activities in the town as commuters could not move to their business centres.
Some of the protesters who spoke to journalists alleged foods have been in short supply as food meant for them were diverted by officials, calling for the removal of the central feeding committee.
The protesters shanted: “We’re hungry and we don’t want any feeding committee again because they aren’t giving us quality food. Give us our foods directly,”
The protesters also refused to accept several appeals by the police to disperse from road until the arrival of the deputy governor, Alhaji Usman Durkwa doused the tension.
Durkwa who was returning from another IDPs camp in the capital to supervise feeding of displaced persons announced immediate suspension of the central feeding committee at the camp and introduction of household feeding.
He said each family would now receive foodstuffs from the state government and cook themselves rather than the central feeding programme.
Speaking with journalists later, the deputy governor said government has already moved trucks of food to the camp to kick off the household feeding.
He noted the introduction of household feeding in other IDPs camps has been successful. He said the protesters took the government by surprise with their action but expressed joy that the problem has been resolved.
He however alleged that some politicians in the opposition may be behind the protest. “We are not ruling out the involvement of opposition policians in the matter because the first woman I called to speak among the protesters was not even IDP in the camp. She is from Maduganari (a neighbourhood) and likewise the first youth I invited and the IDPs are Marte people. This means some people may be instigating them,” he said.