Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Friday, 21 May 2010 12:56 UK

Niger's hungry 'crossing into Nigeria'


Reports from northern Nigeria say a growing number of people from Niger are crossing the border into Nigeria because of the food crisis at home.

A BBC correspondent in the northern Nigerian state of Katsina says many women and children from Niger are seeking shelter with local families.

Aid agencies say about seven million people in Niger - about half the population - are short of food.

Niger's transitional government has started distributing food in the north.

The BBC's Abba Muhammed Katsina in Katsina says some of the those arriving from Niger are selling water or tea to make money.

There are also reports of women going from house to house begging for food, he says.

A significant number of Nigeriens are also reported to have arrived in Sokoto State.

The chairman of Nigeria's Senate foreign affairs committee, Jibril Aminu, told the BBC's Hausa Service that he would call a meeting when the chamber resumes next week to discuss the matter.

Last month, John Holmes, the UN humanitarian chief, told the BBC Niger was threatened with total crop failure in some areas and the situation is worse than the 2005 crisis.

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