Zacheaus Somorin with agency report
People uprooted by Boko Haram violence in the
northeast are leaving host families and moving to
camps for the displaced as food becomes
increasingly scarce, the European Commission’s
humanitarian arm (ECHO) said wednesday.
Seven million people do not have enough food to eat
and almost one-third of them need urgent food aid,
according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Nine in 10 of Nigeria’s 2.2 million internally
displaced people are living with host families in the
northeast rather than in camps, amid food shortages
that are raising tension in many households, said
Thomas Dehermann-Roy, head of ECHO’s Central
“It is easier to host your neighbours, friends and
family when everything is fine, but when food
becomes scarce, tensions are raised,” he said.
Around two-thirds of people uprooted by conflict and
four in five host families in northeast Nigeria said
food was their most pressing and unfulfilled need,
according to ECHO.
“Some people are moving to camps as the living
situation with host families becomes too harsh – it is
a worrying trend and sign of a deteriorating
situation,” Dehermann-Roy added.
A regional offensive by Nigeria, Niger, Chad and
Cameroun last year drove Boko Haram from much of
the territory it held in north eastern Nigeria,
undermining its six-year campaign to carve out an
But the militants have since struck back with suicide
bombings and hit and run attacks on civilians,
threatening livelihoods and hindering aid agencies’
efforts to deliver food.
The amount of land being used to grow food has
dropped by almost 70 per cent over the past year as
the violence has disrupted farming and driven
people off their land, OCHA said.
Boko Haram militants have been restrained from
raising funds by selling livestock, hence shutting
down the cattle trade in Maiduguri, while the conflict
has stifled cross-border trade with neighbouring
Cameroun, Chad and Niger.
The government is encouraging the displaced to
return home, but the continuing arrival of newly
uprooted people in Maiduguri – the capital of worst-
hit Borno State – suggests that parts of the northeast
are still unsafe, according to ECHO
“There is concern that aid agencies may not be able
to reach or provide assistance to people who go back
to insecure areas,” said Dehermann-Roy. A lack of
food could drive people to desperate measures
including selling their possessions and trading sex for
food, he added.