By; MANZO EZEKIEL
Ramadan is the Islamic holy month that is always special for Muslims. This year’s Ramadan was not only special but unique for not less than 8,050 households in Kano, Borno and Yobe States as a Saudi Arabia based international charity organization, King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) distributed food items to vulnerable persons affected by disasters in those states.
The National Emergency Management Agency in collaboration with the state Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) of the states identified the beneficiaries, profiled their details and conducted direct distribution of the items.
Kano State was selected to benefit from the food distribution in view of the 2022 flood incidents that devastated some communities and affected the livelihoods of the residents, especially in Bunkure Local Government Area. Also, the state was selected to extend benevolence of KSrelief to other states in the NorthWest region as Zamfara, which suffered from banditry has previously benefitted from the gesture from Saudi Arabia.
Perhaps one of the obvious effects of insurgency in the North East is the condition of the displaced persons that were forced out of their communities and scattered around; having lost their homes, livelihood and are living in various camps, host communities or with relations. At a point during the height of the security challenge in Borno State in particular, Maiduguri, the state capital and its environs had over seven mega camps with each having number of IDPs greater than population of some towns in Nigeria.
The Federal and Borno State Governments have been caring for the IDPs with supports from concerned local and international partners. Some of the concerned partners included the United Nations systems in Nigeria, Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), local and international Non-Governmental Organizations, etc.
Borno State has been a centre of attention for humanitarian activities and hub where international and local supports are being mobilized and deployed to provide succor for the IDPs. From onset of the humanitarian situation, the Federal Government through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has been very supportive in complementing the efforts of the Borno State Government in the camp management and deployment of essential supplies including food to the IDPs. Nevertheless, some of the camps were mostly catered for by the local and international supports.
The steady restoration of security and consequent closure of most official camps in Maiduguri by the Borno State Government under the Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum has led to resettlement of many displaced persons back to their liberated communities. However, there still exist some unofficial camps and host communities around Maiduguri with IDPs.
The security and humanitarian situation in Yobe State are almost the same except that most of the IDPs in the state are living in host communities.
The recent food donation by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre were distributed in the three states by NEMA in collaboration with the SEMAs to provide some soccour to the vulnerable and indigent residents. The flag off of the distribution was held in Kano with the Governor of Kano State, Director General of NEMA Mustapha Habib Ahmed and Head of Saudi Arabian Mission in Nigerian being represented.
The Deputy Counsel General, Saudi consulate Kano, Mr Nawaf Muhammad confirmed the donation of the food items by the charity organization to the 8,050 target benefitting households in Kano, Yobe and Borno states. He said the centre had been assisting the needy and those profiled by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Kano State Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
According to him, the organisation is committed to provision of humanitarian services to people impacted by natural and human disasters, especially in Kano, Yobe and Borno states.
In his remark, NEMA Director General, Mustapha Habib Ahmed explained that the donation was in the form of food baskets in which each of the benefiting household will have a total 59.8 kilogram basket of food, comprising of 25kg of rice; 25kg of beans; 4kg of Masa Vita flour; 2kg of tomato paste; 2litres of groundnut oil; 1kg of salt and 0.8kg of maggi cubes. On distribution of the beneficiaries, he said 500 households in Kano State had been identified with Borno having 5,300 and Yobe 2,200 in bringing the total to 8050. He further explained that the beneficiaries identified as households of person that have been impacted by impacted by disasters. “The food baskets would go a long way in contributing to the recovery process of the beneficiaries that have been impacted by disasters,” he said.
NEMA’s partnership, with the KSrelief dates back to 2018. Between 2018 and 2021, the Centre donated relief items in form of food baskets to IDPs in Borno, Yobe and Zamfara States. The impacts of these interventions have no doubt saved lives and given hope to the beneficiaries as evident in the positive testimonies of the people.
He described the donation as a gesture that attests to the benevolence of the government and the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as real friends and brothers of Nigeria.
The Director General NEMA who was represented by the Director Planning Research and Forecasting Hajiya Fatima Suleiman Kasim used the occasion to appreciate King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia and custodian of the two Holy Mosques in Medina and Mecca, the Government and people of Saudi Arabia as well as the management of KSrelief for their continued concerns and supports to our people.
Supervisor General of KSrelief Dr Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah who represented by Mr Sultan Mohammed Saleh in monitoring of relief distribution explained that the gesture was delivered under the organization’s Eta’am Basket project in the Fderal Republic of Nigeria 2023. He further said that the food aid was an extension of relief and humanitarian efforts provided by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Every support rendered to IDPs or Nigerians in distressed is much appreciated by the Government and the people.
Manzo Ezekiel writes from the
National Emergency Management Agency 10 Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Abuja