Borno Governor seeks prosecution of IDP food diversion suspects

Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe

Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has asked the state Commissioner of Police to expedite action in the prosecution of anyone arrested in connection with the diversion of foodstuff meant for internally displaced persons IDPs in the state.

A statement by Governor Shettima, through his spokesperson, Malam Isa Gusau, said anyone found guilty should be sentenced to jail by the court of law.

The Governor’s directive follows a report that hundreds of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, on Tuesday, December 13, 2016, arrested an official of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency, over alleged theft of food items meant for the IDPs at the Bakassi IDP camp.

Reports have it that one of the officials, in collaboration with three IDPs were intercepted while allegedly loading fifty bags of 50 kilogram sacks of rice into a waiting truck.

A statement said Governor Kashim Shettima had expressed bitterness over the development and had vowed to ensure that anyone found wanting would be jailed.

The Bakassi IDP camp is an estate of 400 units of two bedrooms, built by the administration of Governor Kashim Shettima in Maiduguri, in which IDP’s from 7 local government areas have been living since 2014.

The statement by the government noted that the food item in question was part of those bought by the Borno State Government for feeding of IDP’s in the month of December.

“Governor Shettima approved funds for the food stuff at the IDP camp and he is deeply pained by this development. The Governor regards any attempt to divert food meant for IDP’S as a crime against humanity which must not go unpunished. The Governor has promptly asked the Commissioner of Police in Borno State to  expedite action that should ensure the prosecution of anyone arrested, whether officials or anybody at all, in order to secure conviction by the court, the statement said.

It says the Borno State Government and the World Food Programme have been feeding the IDP’s since the beginning of December, 2016, pending the time supplies from Nigerian Emergency Management Agency would be delivered.

According to the statement, Governor Shettima has asked the Commissioner of Police in the state to expedite action to ensure the prosecution of anyone arrested, whether officials or anybody, in order to secure conviction by the court.

He said the Commissioner of Police should not entertain any plea from any quarters but should sentenced anyone involved, to serve as a warning to whoever might be engaged in short-changing citizens, who live in trauma, having lost their loved ones, means of livelihood and their homes, as a result of violent attacks by insurgents.

In the meantime, Governor Shettima gave assurance to the IDPs that his administration would continue to use measures that would enhance their welfare.

One of the measures is that, the Bakassi IDP camp now has between 3 to 4 Divisional Police Officers of the respective local government areas living at the camp, to maximize security of lives and property, as well as the protection of human rights across all IDP camps and other parts of Borno State.