ABUJA, (CAJ News) – CORRUPTION, particularly during the distribution of food to internally displaced persons, has been cited as the cause of severe malnutrition at the camps housing the refugees in Borno State.
This comes amid revelations some 30 children were dying from the phenomenon almost daily while there were over 1 000 graves of citizens who died of acute malnourishment, out of which 480 were children’s.
The volunteer medical group, Medecins Sans Frontiers/Doctors Without Borders, reported the setback.
Public affairs analyst, Jude Ndukwe, bemoaned the tragedy despite the supposed huge investments by the administration of Governor Kashim Shettima.
He said in a bid to cover up their alleged negligence and corruption, some government officials had claimed that the children were already malnourished in Boko Haram camps where they were held captive before being rescued.
“But this story does not sell and cannot sell unless such officials want us to believe like it is being mouthed in some quarters that the purported rescued Chibok girls noise was stage-managed,” said Ndukwe.
Ndukwe posed some questions.
“Why would Nigerians who survived the onslaught of the dreaded sect for years showing resilience while in captivity be left to die after regaining freedom? Why would those who were forced to live in Sambisa die in Bama?” he asked.
“Why would children live under (Boko Haram leader Abubakar) Shekau but die under Shettima? Even if their conditions were so desperately hopeless, does it mean that the government of Shettima did not make adequate provisions medically and otherwise for such situations despite the hundreds of millions bandied about as the sums expended on taking care of the IDPs?”
Ndukwe said administrators should be held responsible for the deaths of citizens directly in their care!
They should be made to account for all the donations both in cash and in kind that have come the way of the IDPs through the state government from foreign countries, local and international donor organizations, corporate entities, NGOs, religious organizations, individuals, said Ndukwe.
“Another fact we must not gloss over is the reality that some of these children actually became malnourished while in the camps as we have heard of how officials shortchange the IDPs in the distribution of food and medicines,” he said.
“Obviously, somebody somewhere is feeding fat at the expense of these vulnerable children who deserve our all in order to be alive. That is the height of heartlessness.”
– CAJ News