Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum on Monday, August 19, frowned at the way and manner government officials are diverting foodstuffs and other items meant for Internally Displaced Persons in the state. The governor went spiritual at a point started raining curses on anyone who diverts items meant for IDPs in the state.
The incident happened in Monguno where he has so far spent two days, coordinating, supervising and trying to sanitize the distribution of food items to one hundred and ninety thousand and fifty (119,050) internally displaced persons in the state.
In Zulum’s presence, a man was pictured raising a copy of Qur’an as it’s done in the traditional way, seeking the wrath of God against anyone, including the governor, who diverts food and other aids meant for the welfare of displaced persons.
“Listen to me very attentively, Governor Zulum has asked me to announce to you, that from himself as your Governor down to humanitarian officials of SEMA, NEMA, other government officials and anybody at all, whoever diverts food meant for IDPs, may the curse of God through the instrumentality of the Qur’an, come upon that person. May the wrath of God come upon anyone who has collected allocation ticket but came here to collect what is meant for others. You all know that food is distributed to households and everyone here is part of a household, if you know you are not the head of a household or that you have already collected your portion, better leave the queue or you incur the wrath of the Qur’an” the administrator, Babagana, popularly referred to as Babagana, said, raising the Qur’an with his right hand” The man said
The Oath was also administered against IDPs who have the habit of collecting multiple rations of food most of which they sell in markets, depriving fellow displaced persons of food.
The governor who at around 6 am, began a tour of the 16 camps in Monguno repeated the same announcement across the 16 IDP camps in Monguno. The organizers distributed customized tickets to breadwinners of each household in the camps.
A Mild drama, however, ensued when hundreds of adult male and female IDPs began to leave queues whenever the oath administrator (acting as a town crier) raised the Qur’an calling on God to punish anyone of them who was in the queue to collect multiple rations of food.
The governor left for Monguno on Sunday morning from Maiduguri. Monguno is the largest town in northern Borno, a majority Muslim part of the state most troubled by insurgent attacks. Monguno is not far from Baga and Kukawa from where citizens fled after attacks. Monguno itself had come under the occupation of Boko Haram around 2013 and 2014. Early this year, the insurgents had made two failed attempts to seize military barracks in Monguno.
The governor, Pro. Zulum had ordered the deployment of trailers loaded with varieties of food items ahead of his visit. The Governor also ordered that a copy of the Qur’an be made available to everyone in the Camp. On Sunday night, the Governor held a series of meetings with officials involved in humanitarian activities and those of local government areas whose citizens are displaced in Monguno.
Until the introduction of the oath by the Governor, humanitarian workers have had to contend with problems of food vending by hundreds of displaced persons who collect multiple allocations. There were also allegations of dubious collaboration between some humanitarian workers and IDPs.