From Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri
THE National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has warned of a possible famine in the country, following a massive displacement of small and large-scale farmers from the North-East as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency in the area.
To curb further migration of farmers and livestock breeders, NEMA has constituted an Inter-Agency Contingency Committee (IACC).
The warning was made in the “2012 NEMA Report on Boko Haram Insurgency and Disasters in the North-East” made available to The Guardian yesterday in Maiduguri, Borno State.
The report read in part: “Nigeria may face famine by the end of this year because most of the small-scale farmers and big-time farmers in the North are threatened by the Boko Haram attacks. More than 65 per cent of such farmers have already migrated to the southern parts of Nigeria, fearing that the insecurity to both lives and property, including their farmlands and livestock, continues to persist for nearly three years.”
It further stated: “The Boko Haram attacks on these farmers who produce beans, onions, pepper, maize, rice, livestock and catfish in the Lake Chad area for the southern states in the country, have forced them to migrate since the insurgency broke out in Borno State in July 2009.”
The report also stated that the Boko Haram attacks had caused “a wholesale shift to a terrorism-focused approach to disasters in the North-East states,” comprising Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi and Taraba.
In addition, the report disclosed that the zonal office of NEMA had received an alert from the military on the need to prepare humanitarian contingency frame-work on the implications of the United Nations (UN) Peace-keeping troops withdrawals from Chad and Sudan, as well as the relative peace that might return to Central African Republic.
The displaced and idle rebels from these countries, it is feared, may see Nigeria as a fertile ground to explore for their nefarious activities, especially the border-states in the North-East.
The NEMA report stated that the insurgents, who invaded from neighbouring countries, have attacked several villages in Kala/Balge Local Council of Borno State.
“The foreign invaders imposed various sum of levies and taxes on the villagers ranging from N1 million to N3 million, according to the sizes of the village,” it stated.
The report also stated that the post-election violence displaced 10,000 people in the sub-region, with Bauchi State having the highest of 4,300 while Yobe and Gombe states had 507 and 498 in that order.
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