Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto
The Federal Government saturday presented 300 tonnes of relief materials to Nigerien government officials for onward distribution to Nigerians living in refugee camps in Niger Republic.
The Director-General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Mustapha Maihaja, handed over the items to Mr Sani Sunoussi, an official of the Nigerien government, who is also the Secretary’ General Adjoint du Government de Moradi.
Maihaja, who was represented by NEMA’s Head of Operation in Sokoto, Dr Kofoworola Soleye, said the consignment was part of support from the federal government.
He said the items were procured after NEMA received report on displaced Nigerians who had fled to neighbouring border communities in Niger, after which an assessment was conducted.
After the presentation, Sanoussi said no fewer than 18, 000 refugees were at present taking refuge in the border communities in the area.
He added that a distribution template designed by United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the coordinators of the activities of donors was already on ground.
Sanoussi explained that the Nigerien public and government had donated 100 tonnes of relief materials, Sokoto state government 300 tonnes, and Dangote 500 tonnes of assorted items.
It was gathered that six trucks loaded with relief materials were released to the Nigerien government for distribution to the refugees in the camps located at Gidan Runji, Moradi states in Niger Republic.
The beneficiaries of the relief materials were residents of Sabon Birni and Isa Local Government Areas, Sokoto state, who are victims of banditry.
Items, which the NEMA presented, comprise bags of rice, beans, millet, sugar and cartons of maggi cubes, tomato paste, detergent, and toilet soap.
The emergency agency also presented blankets, towels, children’s, women’s and men’s wears, mosquito nets, nylon mats, and cloth materials, among others.
THISDAY gathered that the event was witnessed by Mr John Usman, the Nigerian Consular official in Niger Republic and Mr Mustapha Umar, the Director, Relief and Rehabilitation of Sokoto State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
According to reports, in spite of appropriate authorisation from the Nigerien Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the country’s Customs officials at Konni, a border town, impounded the items for more than 24 hours before they were released.
The officials insisted that the original waiver documents on the goods should be provided, as NEMA officials only had photocopies of the documents.
The items were released on Friday after NEMA officials paid 120, 000 CF (about N66, 000) to a private clearing agent to obtain another transit permit.