Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum has unearthed 650 ghost households during a surprised midnight visit to an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Maiduguri, the state capital.
The governor, had around midnight on Saturday showed up at Mohammed Goni College of Islamic Legal Studies in Maiduguri, where internally displaced persons from Abadam Local Government Area of northern Borno were being camped.
According to a statement by the governor’s spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, the governor on arrival at the camp immediately closed the entrance and supervised a headcount to identify actual IDPs, in order to put a stop to rampant cases of dubious residents pretending to be displaced.
The ghost IDPs, are accused of spending day times at IDP camps to share food meant for IDPs, and towards the night, returned to their homes to sleep, even as they were captured in another scheme with which the government distributes relief materials to the vulnerable persons living in communities.
At the end of the governor’s headcount which ended past 1a.m, it was discovered that out of 1,000 households in the records of humanitarian officials, 650 households were ghosts.
The governor could only authenticate 450 households in the headcount he conducted alongside an official of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Air Commodore MT Abdullahi, and two commissioners – Agriculture, and Local Government and Emirate Affairs.
In humanitarian system, a household normally consist of at least six persons who are either related through families, or chose to stay together for the purpose of receiving household aids.
The statement said officials who were part of the midnight headcount noted that Zulum was not averse to approving support for any citizen who may be in dire need of food since there is a committee doing that.
The statement, however, added that the governor is vehemently opposed to some residents making dubious claims in other to take what is meant for IDPs while also benefiting from other existing welfare activities that are targeted at non-IDPs.