Massive corruption has been uncovered in the activities of some humanitarian agencies operating at the Malkohi internally displaced persons camp in Yola, Adamawa State.
SaharaReporters has discovered corrupt dealings by many of the non-governmental organisations operating in the area, who now adopt different strategies to exploit IDPs for illicit gains.
Many of these humanitarian groups are in the habit of bribing IDPs to remain in camps operated by the government despite the return of peace to their original homes attacked by Boko Haram insurgents at different points.
During a visit to the camp recently, our correspondent observed how many of these non-profit organisations induce IDPs with money to remain in the camp so that they can remain in business.
A woman, who recently died at the Malkohi Camp, was discovered to have left behind N1.6m under her bed – an amount many around the place indicated was an accumulation of the bribe money she had saved over time.
SaharaReporters further gathered that the deceased owned two houses within Yola metropolis, which she put out for rent.
Confirming the situation, Adamawa State Coordinator for Youth Employment and Social Support Operation, a World Bank-assisted program, Jika Abdulhamid, said the woman was a landlady in Yola but remained at the camp due to the regular bribe IDPs received from NGOs operating in the area.
He said, “Recently, one of the IDPs, a lady, died at Malkohi Camp and over N1.6m was found under her bed.
“She also left behind two houses she put out for rent in Yola.
“Many NGOs now trade with these guys. They are sabotaging genuine relocation of IDPs back to their respective communities.
“The NGOs go to them (IDPs), bribe them with money and convince them not to leave the camp. They (NGOs) don't want the camps closed because they will be out of business.
“What they do is that they come with some five bags of rice, seven cartons of noodles and tell the camp commandant that they are an NGO, then they will take photographs and send to foreign donors.
“I was told that some of the IDPs have four wives. They live with one in the camp, while three are elsewhere also collecting this bribe. This has become a big business venture for the NGOs and IDPs.”
When contacted over the matter, officials of National Emergency Management Agency in Yola denied knowledge of any such practice.
The agency’s Head of Operations, Abbani Garki, while reacting to the development, told SaharaReporters that, “I'm hearing this for the very first time.”
When asked for a list of all NGOs operating within the camps in the state, Garki declined.
He also refused to grant our correspondent access into the Malkohi Camp.
However, a handful of displaced persons, who our correspondent managed to interact with during the visit, confirmed the situation, saying that they were collaborating with the NGOs because they also needed to survive after losing their farmlands and entire properties to Boko Haram attacks.