Ayoade Alakija, head of AOA Global, an international non-profit group, says about five million people face the risk of famine in north-eastern Nigeria.
In an interview with Reuters, Alakija said many could leave Nigeria in large numbers if they do not get the required help.
“This could drive even more Nigerians to flee the country and attempt the perilous journey to Europe via the Mediterranean sea, unless the international community ramps up support and funds,” she said.
“With so many people facing famine, this is the wrong time to criticise us and simply say ‘You are the giant of Africa’.
“The world could see a mass exodus from a country of 180 million people if support is not given fast… if people facing famine fall into famine.”
Alakija said the crisis is the largest Nigeria has ever experienced.
“For Nigeria, this is an unprecedented humanitarian crisis of large magnitude. We, and the wider world, were largely unprepared for it,” she said.
“For the first six years of the insurgency, the previous government did not adequately acknowledge or respond to it. It was not until Buhari came to power that Nigeria, and the world woke up and smelt the coffee.
“The government is tackling the crisis on several fronts, not just handing out food parcels. We are focusing on rebuilding entire communities, so that people can go back to their homes, jobs, and resume their lives as normal.”
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