Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum has pleaded for food for 800,000 internally displaced persons in critical need across 11 towns in the troubled Borno.
The governor made the appeal at the headquarters of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA in Abuja during a visit on Thursday.
Zulum who presented a letter to the Director General, NEMA, Air Vice Marshal Muhammadu Alhaji Mohammed (rtd) said IDPs in Monguno, Bama, Damboa, Gwoza, Dikwa, Gamboru, Ngala, Damasak, Banki, Pulka and Gajiram currently need urgent access to food supplies despite sustained efforts by Borno state government, which has been combining humanitarian challenges and provision of other basic needs across the state.
The governor was not without given acknowledged to the interventions made by NEMA, the Northeast Development Commission and far reaching efforts by the Nigerian Customs Service following Presidential directive two years ago, that food seizures be used for humanitarian support in crises areas.
He however noted that food interventions have to be sustained because whereas majority of IDPs rely on agriculture as means of livelihood, substantial portions of them cannot access their farmlands due to insurgents.
The Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Abdullahi Muhammadu, had earlier commended Zulum as one of the first Governors to domesticate the use of armed NSCDC personnel as agro rangers, for protection of farming activities in parts of Borno State.
Even though the partnership gave birth to increase in farming activities by IDPs in farmlands in some outskirts towns, the recent acceleration of attacks by Boko Haram had reversed the fortunes of the farmers, forcing thousands of displaced farmers to rely on food aid.
In his response the NEMA’s DG, said Zulum is every state’s dream governor for his commitment, hard work and dedication.
He said: “If you go into Maiduguri, you will be shocked, you wouldn’t believe you are in Maiduguri. I have been to Maiduguri with a special assistant to Mr President from a particular state, he looked at me and said, can you please borrow this Zulum of a man to us?!
“I am sure every state will like to have this gentleman Professor as a Governor. If there is one gentleman everybody envies, whether they are able to do what he does or not, it is Professor Zulum. And the simple fact is that we all know what is right and what is wrong is wrong and what is right can only be achieved with the fear of God.”
He assured the governor of the agency’s support to Borno state, particularly in the actualization of Borno’s 25 year development plan unveiled recently.
He said: “Your Excellency, every staff of NEMA is willing at all time to give you 100% support in everything you need. You have been very hard. I assure you that the President, Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces has given us the mandate, he has given us the resources and has said it many times to do everything possible to support what you do, and key into the Borno State 25 year development plan.”
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