The Nigerian Customs will in a matter of days, release some quantity of foodstuffs meant for communities displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in some parts of Borno state.
Comptroller General, Hameed Ali gave this assurance at the Customs headquarters in Abuja on Friday evening, in his response to humanitarian appeal by Borno Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum who was accompanied by Senator Kashim Shettima, immediate past governor of Borno.
Zulum told the Customs C-G that his visit was informed by humanitarian needs, pointing out that it has been impossible for thousands of farming communities, in mostly northern and some part of central Borno to access their farms due to security concerns and operations by the military. He cited that more than 150,000 citizens of Borno state are taking refuge in Niger Republic with many others in Cameroon even as some of those resettled in local government areas are also faced with challenges of access to safe farming.
The Governor noted that intervention from the Customs will be critical because donor fatique was already setting, the consequence of which was a slow down in humanitarian aids from familiar sources.
The Governor thanked the Comptroller General for his consistent empathy to displaced communities in Borno through the periodic supply of foodstuffs seized from smugglers.
Moved by the Governor’s visit, Ali told Professor Zulum that the Customs’ intervention will reach Borno in the coming days.
“I cannot tell you the figure (of food stuffs we shall be supplying) now as I don’t have the chart with me but we will resume soon. The President has already given us the directive to channel interventions to communities affected by humanitarian challenges. I assure you” he said.
The C-G recalled that the Customs has since 2016, had “an excellent relationship with (former) Governor Kashim Shettima, never had problem in dealing with him with respect to the supply (of humanitarian interventions to Borno)” as such, he was sure Governor Zulum intends to leverage on the relationship between the Customs and Borno government.
“You can come to my office any time. All you need is give me a call,” Hameed Ali, a retired Colonel and former military administrator, assured Governor Zulum.
The Governor, besides Senator Shettima, was joined on the visit by the All Progressives Congress, APC, chairman in Borno state, Ali Bukar Dalori, a member of the House of Representatives representing Jere federal constituency, Engr Ahmed Satomi and a national chieftain of the APC, Architect Waziri Bulama.