Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has discredited reports by the United Nations and other international aid agencies estimating that millions of people in northeastern Nigeria are in serious need of aid.
The UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in northeastern Nigeria, Peter Lundberg said this week that humanitarian aid of a billion dollars is needed in 2017 to support 6.9 million people out of 8.5 million against starvation as a result of Boko Haram insurgency in the region.
Also, 75,000 children were reported to be at risk of starving to death over the next few months if they do not receive humanitarian assistance.
This country has a responsible government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, which is doing a lot to bring relief to the displaced people.
These and other reports appealing for aid to support refugees from Boko Haram hit towns were described by President Buhari over the weekend as “unnecessary and uncharitable”.
“We are concerned about the blatant attempts to whip up a non-existent fear of mass starvation by some aid agencies … it is not true as these reports have indicated that 100,000 or even a million people will die because the government is unable to provide care at the camps,” said a statement signed by the spokesperson of the president, Garba Shehu.
“This country has a responsible government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, which is doing a lot to bring relief to the displaced people,” it added, while acknowledging an existing negative impact of Boko Haram attacks on means of livelihood.
The government also acknowledged the effort of humanitarian bodies in improving living conditions but warned them to stop blowing the situation out of proportion.
“The Nigerian government which has been making the most efforts in the entire endeavour will continue to work closely with the local and international response groups to overcome this humanitarian crisis … We do not, however, see the reason for the theories and hyperbolic claims being made ostensibly to draw donor support by some of the aid agencies,” the statement said.
“The situation on the ground, as it exists, provides sufficient motivation to all well-meaning donors to come and do a decent part,” it added.
The United Nations on Monday said in another statement that a record $22.2 billion humanitarian aid is needed in 2017 to help almost 93 million people in 33 countries globally hit by conflicts and natural disasters.
The biggest beneficiaries will be Syria, Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria, the statement said.