If they have been able to escape Boko Haram’s wickedness, Nigerians are now living in IDP camps under the dictates of hunger. In the absence of humanitarian aid.
Falmata Ibrahim left his home five years ago to flee the violence between the Nigerian army and the Boko Haram jihadists in northeastern Nigeria. Since then she has lived under a makeshift shelter and still does not know how to feed her family.
Like hundreds of thousands of other people displaced by the insurgency, it depends on international aid, and was living thanks to a donation of 50 dollars a month from the NGO Action Against Hunger (ACF). been closed more than a month ago by the authorities.
« I do not know how I will survive with my children, » says the mother of AFP family in a camp for displaced Maiduguri, the capital of the state of Borno.
In mid-September, without warning, the Nigerian army closed ACF’s premises, accusing the French NGO of « aiding and abetting terrorists and their atrocities » by providing them with food and medicine.
Just as for Mercy Corps a few days later, the army settled in front of their offices in the north-east of the country, surrounded the buildings and asked the employees to leave without giving any explanation.
Since then, both organizations have had to suspend all their aid programs. According to the United Nations, nearly 400,000 people suffer from the interruption of the action of these two organizations, which leaves them « without food or other essential help for a month ».
During a visit to Nigeria last week, Mark Lowcock, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said he « received assurances from the relevant authorities that the suspension of the activities of Mercy Corps and Action against hunger will be lifted in a few days. «
But neither the authorities nor the army have commented and the calendar remains unclear. Representatives of humanitarian organizations told AFP that they did not have more information.
‘No more means’
But while uncertainty reigns, it is the victims of the conflict who continue to pay the price.
According to the UN, the conflict, which has ravaged northeastern Nigeria for ten years, has killed 35,000 people, nearly 2 million displaced, including 140,000 this year, and more than three million people are insecure especially because they have no access to land because of insecurity.
The army recently decided to remove its soldiers from the heavily-attacked forward operating bases to regroup them in « super-camps », better protected and supposedly more effective.
However, people say that this new strategy has left parts of territories unprotected.
People in the north-east are grouped in sprawling camps, managed by the authorities and secured by the army, but they are totally dependent on food distributions for their survival.
Because in the absence of any support from the Nigerian state, international NGOs and other local organizations are a crucial safety net.
At the end of October, Médecins sans Frontières asked for « massive and constant support » in its humanitarian actions in the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
« Today, we are unable to reach regions, » MSF said in a statement. « Nearly one million people are in areas inaccessible because of fighting, road conditions or bans on moving or transporting goods. »
« We must urgently and collectively reaffirm the basic principles of humanitarian action and protect the right of every individual in need of assistance, » says MSF.
« The conditions in which we live are deplorable, » said Jakanama Ali, father of nine children. « I have no way to provide what my family needs. »