Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno State, Northeast Nigeria at midnight on Sunday, March 7, showed up at Mohammed Goni College of Islamic Legal Studies in Maiduguri, where internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Abadam Local Government Area of Northern Borno were being camped.
HumAngle learnt that the governor immediately shut the entrance to the camp and supervised a headcount to identify actual IDPs.
The motive behind his action, it was later gathered, was to put a stop to rampant cases of dubious residents pretending to be displaced.
There have been reports of residents who spent daytime at camps to get food meant for IDPs, returning to their homes to sleep, with also benefiting from other means through which the state distributes food to vulnerable non-IDPs in communities.
A statement by Isa Gusau, media aide to Governor Zulum said his mission at the camp which ended past 1 a.m. uncovered that out of 1,000 households in the records of humanitarian officials, 650 households were ghosts.
“350 households were found to be real IDPs after Zulum’s midnight headcount which was conducted by the governor alongside an official of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Air Commodore M. T. Abdullahi, and the commissioners of Agriculture, and Local Government and Emirate Affairs,” Gusau said in the statement.
In the humanitarian system, a household normally consists of at least six persons who are either related through families or chosen to stay together for the purpose of receiving household aids.
Officials who were part of the midnight headcount said Governor Zulum was not averse to approving support for any citizen who may be vulnerable and in need of food since there was a committee doing that.
They, however, said the Governor is vehemently opposed to some residents making dubious claims in to take what is meant for the IDPs while also benefiting from other existing welfare activities that target non IDPs.
Borno State has been the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria for the last 10 years, leaving its civilians caught in the middle. According to a report by UNICEF, an estimated 2.6 million people are internally displaced in the northeast due to the insurgency– more than half of whom are children.