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Saudi Arabia’s Lifeline to IDPs in Borno State
Perhaps one of the obvious effects of insurgency in the North East is the condition of the displaced persons that were forced out of their communities and scattered around; having lost their homes, livelihood and are living in various camps, host communities or with relations.
At a point during the height of the security challenge in Borno State in particular, Maiduguri, the state capital and its environs had over seven mega camps with each having number of IDPs greater than population of some towns in Nigeria.
The Federal and Borno State Governments have been caring for the IDPs with supports from concerned local and international partners. Some of the concerned partners included the United Nations systems in Nigeria, Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), local and international Non-Governmental Organizations, etc.
Borno State has been a centre of attention for humanitarian activities and hub where international and local supports are being mobilized and deployed to provide succor for the IDPs.
From onset of the humanitarian situation, the Federal Government through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has been very supportive in complementing the efforts of the Borno State Government in the camp management and deployment of essential supplies including food to the IDPs. Nevertheless, some of the camps were mostly catered for by the local and international supports.
The steady restoration of security and consequent closure of most official camps in Maiduguri by the Borno State Government under the Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum has led to resettlement of many displaced persons back to their liberated communities.
However, there still exist some unofficial camps and host communities around Maiduguri with IDPs. Recently, NEMA was at some of these locations and distributed food items donated by King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief), a humanitarian agency of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A total of 16,000 IDPs households (about 96,000 persons) benefitted from the gesture which was a lifeline from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the displaced Nigerians.
At the flag off distribution of the food items, Borno State Governor, Professor Zulum appreciated the kind gesture from the King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their concern and generosity towards the plights of the distressed Nigerian affected by insurgency, particularly in the state.
While noting that KSrelief was the first and only aid agency from the Arab world to have come with food aid, he said the donation was timely especially for the selected camps that have not been receiving adequate food supplies. He then, assured commitment of the Borno State to partner NEMA towards ensuring equitable distribution of the items across the camps and host communities.
In same vein, Director General NEMA Mustapha Habib Ahmed described the donation as a gesture that attests to the benevolence of the government and the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as real friends and brothers of Nigeria.
NEMA’s partnership with the KSrelief dates back to 2018. Between 2018 and 2021, the centre donated relief items in form of food baskets to IDPs in Borno, Yobe and Zamfara States. The impact of these interventions have no doubt saved lives and given hope to the beneficiaries as evident in the positive testimonies of the people.
For the recent donation, the centre donated 16,000 food baskets that catered for 16,000 households in Borno state, with the distribution carried out in two cycles. Each household received a total of 59.8kilogram basket of food comprising of 25kg of rice; 25kg of beans; 4kg of Masa Vita flour; 2kg of tomato paste; 2litres of groundnut oil; 1kg of salt and 0.8kg of maggi cubes.
The direct distribution of the items was done by NEMA in collaboration with Borno SEMA in identified camps located at El-Miskin, Doro, Asheri, Shuwari, Nganzai, Muna Kumburi, Gongulon and Madinatu areas within Maiduguri and environs.
Supervisor General of KSrelief Dr Abdullah Alrabiah who represented by Al-Yousef AbdulKarim in monitoring of relief distribution explained that the gesture was part of its international project to deliver food assistance to those in need around the world. He said that the food aid was an extension of relief and humanitarian efforts provided by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Every support rendered to IDPs or Nigerians in distressed is much appreciated by the Government and the people.
* Ezekiel works with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), headquarters in Abuja.
The gesture was part of its international project to deliver food assistance to those in need around the world…the food aid was an extension of relief and humanitarian efforts provided by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
R-L Governor of Borno State Prof Babagana Umara Zulum, Director General National Emergency Management Agency Mustapha Habib Ahmed and representative of King Samantha Humanitarian and Aid and Relief Centre Mr Al-Yousef Abdulkareem during the flag off distribution of food items donated by Saudi Arabian Centre for Intrrnally Displaced Persons in Borno State
2 and 3
Tent to tent distribution of the food items by NEMA staff
4) Stacks of the donations
5) and 6
Some of the beneficiaries of the largesse