President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday refuted reports by local and international humanitarian agencies that there is mass starvation in IDP camps set up in northeast Nigeria.
The president said the United Nations and other private humanitarian groups are deliberately hyping the level of the crisis for financial gains.
This comes after the United Nations on Friday warned that more than five million victims of Boko Haram face serious food shortages in the coming year. The U.N. Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator, Peter Lundberg, said in a statement that:
“A projected 5.1 million people will face serious food shortages as the conflict and risk of unexploded improvised devices prevented farmers planting for the third year in a row, causing a major food crisis.”
The presidency, however, recognises that local and international humanitarian agencies including the UN have done an immeasurable amount of effort filling in the gaps wherever they existed, but says it is not true that 100,000 or even a million people will die because the government is unable to provide care at the camps.
The FG says it has put measures in place to cushion the humanitarian challenges with collaboration between NEMA and the Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative.
Both organisations provide raw food items to IDPs at formal camps, self-settled centers, host communities and satellite centers while the state governments complement with condiments, firewood and maintain environmental quality of the IDP camps.
The United Nations had recently estimated that that 75,000 children in Nigeria may die in a few months, due to hunger in the ravaged northeast in North-East Nigeria.
It also added that an estimate of 14 million people in Nigeria require food aid and humanitarian assistance.
The UN says it hopes to target half of the 14 million people, a population bigger than Belgium, with the Nigerian government working to reach the rest.