4.5 million dying of starvation in Nigeria’s North-East —UN

United Nations (UN), on Tuesday, said more than 4.5 million people are starving and in dire need of food aid in the Boko Haram plagued North-East of Nigeria, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Reports by various UN agencies, including the World Food Programme (WFP), revealed that this figure continued to double.

“All indications point to an extremely grave situation,” said Abdou Dieng, the UN agency’s Regional Director for West Africa.

“As the rains set in and the lean season deepens, and more areas are opened up to access humanitarian aid, the full scale of hunger and devastation is likely to come to light,” he added.

According to reports, the number of people struggling with severe food shortage in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa has risen fourfold since March to exceed one million.

It is also estimated that no fewer than 65,000 newly liberated people in inaccessible areas of Borno and Yobe states were facing “famine-like” conditions.

While some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are returning to their natural homes, they find them uninhabitable. Therefore, they are forced to stay in urban areas, again as IDPs.

These families have to beg, get in debts or skip meals to survive. Many now eat only once a day.

Also, if the Nigeria’s economy continues to sink, this could push the number of people in need of food assistance in the northeast by another million by September.

WFP, in another food assessment, has warned of soaring prices in areas affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Meanwhile, the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) has said it has earmarked $30 million to improve education in the North-East.

The Agency’s Education Programme Manager, Ms Nafisa Ado, made this known on Tuesday, at a “Technology Enhance Learning for All Dissemination’’ workshop in Yola.

Ado said the programme was to support the already damaged education system in the North-East due to the Boko Haram insurgency.

She added that under the programme, more than 20,000 vulnerable and internally displaced children would be taught through radio, reading camps, as well as a ‘feed and read’ programme.

She said “USAID has earmarked the sum of  $30 million to support education in Nigeria and in the North- East in particular.

“In the North-East, we targeted over 20,000 orphans and children of IDPs under a special package: ‘Technology Enhance Literacy for All (TELA)’.”

She said that after observation, the progrmme was finally declared “successful’’ in supporting weakest learners.

Mr Saidu Komisiri, the Director of Quality Assurance, Adamawa Universal Basic Education Board, described the programme as resourceful.

Komisiri called for collaboration among the state governments, American University of Nigeria, Yola, and USAID to continue with the learning programme.

He said that presently, there were over 200,000 children out of school in the state that needed to be enrolled into the education learning system.