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IDPs allege diversion of WFP food vouchers in Borno, demand probe

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Gubio camp, Maiduguri in Borno State have raised the alarm over alleged diversion of monthly e-vouchers.

The e-vouchers, part of the World Food Programme (WFP) cash assistance for buying food, are prepaid debit cards with serial numbers linked to the IDPs’ SIM cards.

Some, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, urged the State government and WFP to probe cash agents handling the disbursement.

Kaltume Musa said she previously enjoyed a monthly food ratio under the WFP before the agency introduced the e-voucher.

The mother of 12 children recalled she was encouraged to open a bank account to access N9,000 monthly stipend.

The widow confirmed she got a debit card but could not activate it because no PIN number was issued.

“The cash agents responsible for the payment stopped the disbursement two months after the introduction of the e-voucher scheme.

“For six months, I have not received my money, the whole thing looks like a scam. The situation exposed me and my children to begging”, Musa said.

Another IDP, Musa Idris disclosed they reported the matter to camp officials and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

The citizens also urged the state government to investigate the matter to assuage their sufferings.

A Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) official said the camp authorities received complaints from the IDPs and that they were addressing them.

NHRC Coordinator, Jummai Mshelia confirmed the situation, disclosing that the commission reached out to the cash operators’ association in Borno.

“It has a criminal element in it. As soon as we conclude our preliminary investigation, we are going to forward our findings to relevant agencies like the EFCC”, she said.

Kelechi Onyemaobi, WFP National Communication Officer recalled that they visited the camp and investigated the matter in October 2021.

The spokesperson said the WFP helped the IDPs to get statement of accounts from the bank for the disbursement.

“Out of the 55 complaints received by WFP, 30 were found to be valid after verification. These were addressed and resolved.

“WFP also resolved several issues in the camp relating to about 171 households who were not receiving their payments,” he said.

Onyemaobi added that WFP is no longer working with the affected cash agents as the programme ended in November 2021.

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