Senate President Bukola Saraki has urged security agencies to investigate the reports that Boko Haram insurgents are recruiting people from internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in the north-east.

Saraki advised the nation’s intelligence outfits not to treat rumours with levity, considering the fact that ISIS and Al-Shaabab have been going to refugee camps to pick new members.

“Seeing that ISIS has been recruiting members from European refugee camps, and the Kenyan government recently had to shut down the world’s largest refugee camp because Al-Shaabab was using the place to train and recruit young people as extremists, it is important that we take the rumours about Boko Haram recruiting from IDP camps seriously,” he said in a statement by Yusuph Olaniyonu, his special adviser on media and publicity.

Saraki also called for a more holistic investigation of alleged diversion of materials meant for the IDPs.

He commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for arresting a contractor, who allegedly diverted 60 trucks of grains, which the federal government donated to IDPs in Borno state.

The lawmaker wondered why anyone would take out of what is meant for the displaced persons who are in desperate need.

“I have been to the zone twice in the past 14 months and I have experienced firsthand that the IDPs need as much food and health supplies as they can get,” he said.

“It is utterly immoral for someone to withhold food – in an attempt to enrich himself – while women and children are starving.”

The senate president emphasised the need for a better coordinated response by the federal government to the situation in the north-east in order to encourage willing donors, especially in the international community.

“What is clear right now is that we cannot do this alone,” he said.

“This is why we need to ensure that we put everything that we can in place to ensure that the international community is involved at maximum capacity.”

Saraki added that he was already making consultations on whether or not to call a senate public hearing to deliberate on the government’s response to the IDP crisis.

“If we all need to sit down with the various stakeholders at the senate to find out what the institutional and logistical hindrances are, that’s what we are going to do,” he said.

“It is not enough for us to say that there is a problem, we need to push out solutions quickly; hunger will not wait for anyone.”

He also expressed optimism on the passage of the North East Development Commission (NEDC) bill, saying the senate has been using the period of the recess to iron out the creases needed to ensure a smooth passage of the bill.

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