From Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
Borno State government has suspended central feeding of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) following their protest yesterday in Maiduguri.
Hundreds of women IDPs barricaded the Maiduguri-Kano/Jos road yesterday over shortage of food supply to the Arabic Teachers College camp in the capital. The protest obstructed traffic movement on the major highway to the capital even as business activities were grounded.
Some of the protesters alleged foods have been in short supply or diverted by officials while equally calling for the removal of the central feeding committee.
“We’re hungry and we don’t want any feeding committee again because they aren’t giving us quality food. Give us our foods directly,” a middle age woman, who identified herself as Halima said amid rowdy protesters and shouting.
The protesters also refused to accept several appeals by the police to call off their action. The arrival of the deputy governor, Alhaji Usman Durkwa however doused the tension.
Durkwa who was returning from another IDPs camp in the capital where he went to supervise feeding of displaced persons announced immediate suspension of the central feeding committee at the camp and the introduction of household feeding.
He said each family would henceforth receive foodstuffs from the state government and cook themselves rather than the central feeding programme.
The deputy governor said government has already moved trucks of food to the camp to kick off the household feeding. He said the introduction of household feeding in other IDPs camps has been successful.
He said the protesters took the government by surprise with their action but expressed joy that the problem has been resolved.
He, however, alleged that some politicians in the opposition party may be behind the protest. “We are not ruling out the involvement of opposition policians in the matter because the first woman I called to speak among the protesters was not even IDP in the camp. She is from Maduganari (a neighbourhood) and likewise the first youth I invited. The IDPs are Marte people. This means some people may be instigating them,” he said.