A disturbing scenario has been created, indicating that Nigeria needs a minimum of $250 million food aid in 2017 to save about 4.7 million of its citizens, particularly from the northeast of the country, who starving to death.
The Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) Abdou Dieng, an affiliation of the United Nations (UN ) told Reuters on Wednesday that the situation had become so bad that efforts should be intensified towards sourcing aid funds to save it from getting worse.
He said the body had taken notice of the fact that the region is currently facing the worst terrorist group, Boko Haram attacks, and is recording worsening famine, caused by lack of rain, which nay make farmers’ plantation in 2017 unable to yield as expected.
Dieng said almost half the number of the vulnerable in the region are most desperate and could miss out on food in the coming three months because there had not been any provision by the government for them.
While also noting the efforts by donor-agencies and philanthropists in helping those in IDP camps, no fewer than 1.2 million people are already in critical condition over lack of food and without any care in the camps.
“We are looking for minimum $250 million needed to just prevent famine from sending many more to their early graves in the coming months.
“About 4.7 million people in northeast Nigeria – where the jihadist group Boko Haram has waged an eight-year insurgency – need food aid, a number expected to rise to 5.2 million by August”, the WFP director lamented.
Dieng said a shortfall in funding means the U.N. agency can only provide aid to 1.3 million of those most in need in June, instead of the 1.8 million people it had originally planned to reach.
“If we don’t get the funding, hundreds of thousands of people could die of hunger,” he said, adding that hunger levels would increase as the rainy season restricted aid delivery and continuing insecurity limited the population’s ability to farm.
Aid agencies say the northeast is on the brink of famine after two years of poor harvests, with a third missed year looking likely.
But Nigeria is said be facing some credibility questions from the donor-countries, most of which are expressing concern over the alleged misuse of the funds from donors by some corrupt government officials.
They were said to also be worried over how an oil-producing country, like Nigeria, could not have efficient food security programme.
However, the UN has said that the threat of mass starvation is not only reported in Nigeria, as three other countries – Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen – make up the list of countries having the lives of about 20 million of their citizens on the line.
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