Nigerian army shuts down Mercy Corps’ offices in north-east after intercepting suspicious N29m

Nigerian army shuts down Mercy Corps? offices in north-east after intercepting suspicious N29m
Offices of Mercy Corps in Borno and Yobe states have been shut down by the Nigerian army barely five days after the Borno office of the Action Against Hunger (AAH) was also shut down over allegations of providing aid to Boko Haram.

Though no reason has been given for the closure of the North-East offices of the Mercy Corps, it was learnt that the international Non-governmental organisation has been at loggerheads with the Nigeria army after a vehicle conveying some contractors who were on their way to purchase items for internally-displaced persons (IDPs) on behalf of Mercy Corps was intercepted.

“Mercy Corps is suspending operations in Borno and Yobe States, Nigeria, following the closure of four of our field offices by the Nigerian military,” the NGO said in a statement.

A source told The Cable that the closure may be connected to the N29 million found in the intercepted vehicle belonging to the NGO and “belief that some NGOs sponsor the insurgents”

“One of their workers (Mercy Corps) called me this morning that the army has shut down their offices,” he said.
“Based on my findings, there are some contractors who supply Mercy Corps with items that they distribute to IDPs. So they paid them to provide supplies for IDPs in Damboa, and they went to Adamawa state to cash the money sent.
“On their way, along Damboa, the army intercepted their bus. They asked them what they had in the vehicle …they saw a cylinder in the vehicle, the one used by welders…. So they asked them why they had the cylinder and they replied that it belongs to a man in Damboa.
“The military then searched the vehicle and as they were searching it, they saw the cash, which was about N29million and they asked the contractors how they had such an amount of money. They replied that they are contractors, and that normally every month when they pay them; they cash the money, put it in cartons and go to market to get the supplies for Mercy Corps to give to IDPs.
“But the army did not agree to what they had said. They said, ‘such an amount of money being conveyed without escorts?’ That they don’t believe them.
“They also had sticks belonging to the battalion in Damboa, and the driver of the vehicle also had ATM cards of some soldiers with him. Some of the soldiers don’t travel. So they give their ATM cards to drivers to withdraw cash for them. He showed these to the army so that they would believe them.
“But the impression the army now has is that anybody working with an NGO is a sponsor of Boko Haram, which is not so.”


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