GOVERNOR Babagana Zulum of Borno State has warned that a famine is imminent in the state unless later this year unless local farmers who have been displaced by the violence of insurgent groups are allowed to return to their farms.
Since 2009, Boko Haram insurgents have been fighting a war against the Nigerian government in the northeast of the country, seeking to build a purist Islamic caliphate. As a result of the continuous fighting, Nigeria now has over 3m internally displaced persons, many of them farmers who have had to flee their farms.
According to Governor Zulum, the situation has become pathetic as thousands of refugees who have returned to their communities have no food and cannot cultivate their farmland. He added that non-governmental organisations giving support have done their best but are no longer providing food assistance because they are overwhelmed.
Governor Zulum said: “No insecurity is worse than food insecurity. Without food to eat terrible things can happen.
“We have reached a situation that if people are not allowed to farm they can kill themselves and eat. Borno is now experiencing food insecurity and we cannot wait for things to get perfect for people to go to farm, we need to be resilient to Boko Haram attacks.
“We cannot accept a situation where five or 10 gunmen can dislodge a town with over ten thousand dwellers. People cannot be allowed to die of hunger and our children not going to school, that cannot happen.”
According to the governor, people have to return to their communities to farm and transact businesses. Attacks on peasants communities in the region have continued despite claims by the government that the insurgency had been defeated.