March 24, 2022

IDPs Relief Materials, Funds are Still Diverted Despite Legislators Promise to Address it

Promise: Through effective oversight, ensure that relief materials reach IDPs and other vulnerable groups.

Abiola Durodola
Last Updated
March 24, 2022
min read

In Nigeria, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have been victims of corruption over the past years. According to statistics by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are over 2.1 million internally displaced in Nigeria.

Many of the children in the IDP camps across the country are faced with hunger and malnourishment caused by food rationing and diversion of foods by camp officials. A report by ICIR in 2016 also noted that many of the children there are faced with major complications like measles, chickenpox, and constant diarrhoea. Recall that in 2016, Babachir Lawal, the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) was probed for alleged diversion of funds and materials meant for IDPs.

In addressing the perennial corruption issues in IDP camps across the country, the House of Representatives proposed a medium-term intervention in its legislative agenda document. In the document, the House of Representatives promised to ensure relief materials reach IDPs and other vulnerable groups in the country.

Promise: Through effective oversight, ensure that relief materials reach IDPs and other vulnerable groups.

However, between 2019 and 2021, corruption has continued to thrive in IDP camps across Nigeria. In Borno state, IDPs raised alarm over the alleged diversion of monthly e-vouchers (a part of the World Food Programme (WFP)) cash assistance for buying food in the camp. Another report by Daily Trust uncovered a ‘black market’ where items meant for IDPs are sold by officials. In Benue, the situation is similar with a news report showing that over 1000 IDPs in the state are injured, while 218 are malnourished.

In 2021, the Minister of Special Duties, George Akume accused some Benue State government officials of a monthly deduction of 200 million from the IDPs fund.

Experts have also noted the need to further intensify anti-corruption campaigns and advocacy on humanitarian interventions in the country. Recently, the Executive Secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Sadiq Isah Raddah also reiterate the need to focus on IDPs as it has become a cesspool of corruption.

In 2020, the HOR passed the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons Bill, 2019. Part V of the bill focused on the Protection of Internally Displaced Persons with Section 25 (8) (f) mandating the commission to “collaborate with other agencies of government charged with the protection of human rights and duties, regardless of the cause of displacement, by ensuring that intervening actors and host communities do not encourage the denial of healthcare services, education, food, water supply and other basic social necessities of life.” However, there has not been enough oversight from the legislatures as IDPs continue to die of hunger due to the diversion of funds and relief materials.

We rate this promise, Broken.