A Nigerian Government official said food aid sent to displaced people has been “diverted,” which is code for stolen.
This marks the first time the government officially admits the stealing of relief materials meant for Boko Haram victims, allegedly by officials in charge of the supplies.
The northeastern region of the country is home to people driven from their homes by Boko Haram. About 1.5 million people are currently facing famine. And the jihadist group has reportedly killed more than 20,000 people and forced 2.7 million to flee over the past eight years.
The acting President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, launched a program to distribute grain to 1.8 million displaced people living in camps.
"Over 1,000 trucks of assorted grains are now on course, delivering the grains intact to beneficiaries since the commencement of the present program as against the reported diversion of over 50 trucks in every 100 trucks sent to the northeast," said Osinbajo's spokesman Laolu Akande in an emailed statement late on Saturday.
"The issue of diversion of relief materials, including food and related matters, which has dogged food delivery to the IDPs (internally displaced people) would be significantly curbed under the new distribution matrix."
Akande said 1,376 military personnel and 656 armed police would guard the food as it was being moved from the warehouses and distributed to the displaced people in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe – the three states worst hit by the insurgency.
Boko Haram continue to carry out attacks in the northeast region of Nigeria and in neighboring Cameroon and Niger.
On June 7, the terrorist group reportedly killed a total of 14 people in bombings and shootings in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.
A UN official said, this month the World Food Programme had scaled back its emergency plans in the northeast because of lack of funds. The agency will now be aiming to supply food to 1.4 million people instead of the 1.8 million previously intended.
The UN says it needs $1.05 billion this year to deal with the crisis in northeast Nigeria, but has only received a quarter of that so far.
Along with Somalia and South Sudan, Nigeria is one of three humanitarian emergencies unfolding in Africa.