- Nigeria has apologised to Saudi Arabia after 200 tonnes of dates the kingdom sent as a Ramadan gift were found on sale in local markets. – BBC
by Engr Ramat
“Corruption in humanitarian work is among the worst kind. It can mean the difference between life and death. It robs people of essential resources, destroying dignity and causing desperation.”
“Emergency assistance pumps large amounts of money and goods into damaged economies. The risk of corruption is acute. Aid often flows through new, unmonitored channels. It faces the chaos of conflicts or natural disasters. So it’s extremely hard to track where aid goes.”
Food, water and medical supplies can be stolen and sold on the black market. Companies can bribe procurement officials to win contracts. This can mean displaced families receive sub-standard housing or poor-quality food.”
“Aid agencies feel the need for speed. Sometimes this makes them bypass standard anti-corruption measures. The result? Money or goods go missing. Aid can be used to buy votes or influence. Too often, powerful local groups and existing corrupt networks benefit. Those most needing help miss out.” – Transparency International Report.
According to the UN, 30% of development assistance fails to reach its target population because of corruption. In Nigeria, the figure is likely higher. We have seen that in the ‘grass-cutting scandal’ where politicians and corrupt humanitarian officials have erected a parallel ‘humanitarian economy’ that profits from the pain and suffering of the affected populations.
As sad as it is, I’m not surprised that over 200 tons of dates donated by Saudi Arabia found its way to the black market instead of the affected population. Nigerians will be shocked to know the identities of those involved. Because diversion at that scale is only possible with the full cooperation of aide officials, community/religious leaders, and government officials at every stage of the aide process.