Up to half the food aid meant for people who have fled Nigeria's Islamist insurgency has reportedly been diverted, the federal government says.

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It described it as a "diversion of relief materials", which correspondents say is a euphemism for theft.

A statement from the acting president's office added that security was being beefed up to protect the deliveries.

As a result of an Islamist militant insurgency some 8.5 million Nigerians in the north-east need life-saving aid.

Poor rains have exacerbated a problem caused by fighting with Boko Haram militants, which has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

The statement from acting President Yemi Osinbajo said aid going missing had "dogged food delivery" and then cited reports saying that more than 50 lorries out of every 100 sent to the north-east never reach their destination.