Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency has secured its first publicised conviction in relation to the relief effort for victims of Boko Haram, as two men were jailed for stealing food aid.
Umar Ibrahim and Bulama Ali Zangebe were jailed for two years and told to pay one million naira (3,200, 2,900 euros) each for selling on 180 bags of rice meant for people displaced by the insurgency.
The sale of the rice, part of a consignment of 300 bags donated by the Danish Refugee Council, netted the pair 1.4 million naira, the Borno state high court in Maiduguri was told on Thursday.
Ibrahim, a councillor in the Mafa area, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of Maiduguri, and local chief Zangebe were said to have acted on the orders of the local government chairman.
The chairman, Shettima Lawan Maina, was named in the indictment but absent from court. He was detained in December last year on suspicion of links to Boko Haram. He is said to be still in military custody.
Civilians have been worst affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, with at least 20,000 people killed in Nigeria alone since 2009, and more than 2.6 million others made homeless.
Aid agencies have warned that hundreds of thousands of people risk starvation because of a lack of food, as farmers have been unable to cultivate land due to the conflict, pushing up prices.
Most of those staying in camps for the internally displaced or with family and friends are reliant on food aid, which humanitarian agencies say is threatened by a lack of funding.