Surge Of IDPS In Maiduguri Worries Borno Government | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Surge Of IDPS In Maiduguri Worries Borno Government

Posted: Jun 24, 2015 at 12:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Sunny Nwankwo  –  Maiduguri      


For over a year now, when the outlaw group known as Boko Haram sect invaded almost all the Local government areas of Borno State, with an offensive onslaught on the thousands of innocent Borno residents, forcing them out of their own ancestral homes to become refugees elsewhere, life since then has been so worrisome and miserable to the IDPS in camps.
Furthermore, facts on ground revealed that, even if the reign of insurgency in Borno State in particular eventually comes to an end today, the lives of these people who have became refugees in their Fatherland can never remain the same. It is a traumatic experience that would remain unforgettable in their minds.
Although, the Borno State government right from the day the calamity befell them has been very magnanimous in providing the essential needs of life to the IDPS.

But from all indications, it appears that the State Government through State Emergency Management Agency{SEMA} can no longer bear the burdens of taking care of these internally displaced persons (IDPS) alone due to the high influx  of them to Maiduguri.

Observations have shown that, it is quite challenging and it’s a heavy burden on the state government to cope with the demands of IDPS in camps of not less than 22 with population size of not less than 120 thousands persons. Checks reveal that, the total number of IDPS in Borno including those living with their relatives and those in the camps stood at the population size of 1.5 million.
Internally displaced persons (IDPS) are among the world’s most vulnerable people.

Unlike refugees, IDPS have not crossed an international border to find sanctuary but have remained inside their home countries. Even if they had fled for similar reasons as refugees, IDPS legally remain under the protection of their own government, even though that government might be the cause of their flight. In real sense of it, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has the lead role in overseeing the protection and shelter needs of IDPS as well as coordination and management of camps. The state government has complained bitterly on the slow pace of NEMA in coming to the aid of the displaced persons in the state.
But interestingly, few days ago, NEMA assisted the IDPS in Maiduguri with relief materials worth millions of naira.

Receiving the food items on behalf of the State Government, the deputy Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Umaru Zanna Mustapha thanked NEMA for the gesture but quickly reminded them on the need to continue in such philanthropic spirit of assisting IDPS regularly.

Furthermore, the deputy governor disclosed that the state government can no longer bear the heavy burden of taking care of the IDPS in Maiduguri alone, pointing out that so far, Borno Government had spent several billions of naira on the IDPS and security.
Meanwhile, investigations have revealed that, at the initial stage there were about 13 or 14 Local Government areas of the state that were displaced by the dreaded Boko Haram but as at now, the number has increase to 22 camps because each local government has its own camp.

It was found out that, the reason for the increase of the IDPS in the camps was due to that, some of the displaced persons who were initially staying with their relatives elsewhere have been asked to quit as they cannot cater for their daily needs any longer and as a result, the victims had no other place to go than to the camp, a situation that necessitated the sharp increase in the camp which the State Government appear to be incapable of coping with.
However, the chairman of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Alhaji Grema Terab while reacting to the challenges the State Government is facing on the IDPS said:  “It’s quite challenging to take care of these IDPS but the State Government is doing well in providing three square meals but it goes beyond feeding alone.

The sanitary condition is also priority in the camp, the health care facilities and the basic needs of the IDPS are required. For instance, the IDPS need soap and detergent to bath and wash their clothes respectively, they need the body oil and for the women they need the sanitary pads and baby foods among others”.
On maintaining the camps, the SEMA boss explained that, the State Government spend about N3.5million on maintenance and condiments apart from the food items on the daily basis for all the camps. Also, Government spends the sum of N3.5million on logistics like transporting the food items to the various camps and our ambulance, trucks, labourers etc”. He however said that, the government is trying to reduce it to a minimum of about N1.5m or N1.6m.

Among the key stakeholders in humanitarian services which the State Government is willing to partner with to take care of the internally displaced persons in Maiduguri according to SERMA boss , are International Committee on Red Cross, UNICEF, Doctors WithoutBorders and other international donor agencies. “We have met with NEMA and told them how much we have spent on a daily basis and what our requirements in the camp are”.
Another worrisome aspect too is that, presently there are over 300 pregnant women in the 22 IDPS camps in Maiduguri, and for this reason SEMA is insisting that there is need for establishing a special camp with needed infrastructure and personnel for these women. Alhaji Terab said arrangement had been concluded for the camp to be established at the newly built Legacy Housing Estate in the state.
Also, SEMA according its boss is not unmindful of the fact that, the issue of relocating, rehabilitation and resettlement of internally displaced persons to their various localities is another challenging task, especial now that some places like, Mongonu, Gubio and Guzamalla local governments of the state are said be liberated from insurgency and people can go back as peace has finally returned to the areas. But Bama Local Government that constitutes the largest number of IDPS is still not yet liberated by the Nigerian Army.

Meanwhile, as part of showing spirit of philanthropic, the Nigerian Customs last weekend gave three trucks loaded with assorted relief materials including house-hold utensils to the IDPS in Maiduguri. Presenting the items to the Borno State Government, the deputy Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji Musa Tahir who represented the Comptroller General of Customs Alhaji Dikko Abdullahi said the relief materials were voluntarily donated by the officers and men of agency with a view to ameliorate the suffering conditions of the IDPS, stressing that Customs will continue to assist them until life becomes normal for them.
Receiving the items on behalf of Borno Government, the deputy Governor Alhaji Zanna Mustapha thanked the Nigerian Customs for such philanthropic gesture to the IDPS in Maiduguri.
He however appealed to other relevant Government agencies to emulate what the Nigerian Customs had done with a view to come to the aid of the IDPS as Government alone can no longer shoulder the burden.
More so, the National Emergency Management Agency {NEMA} in its usual characteristic manner of playing a lead role in overseeing the protection and shelter needs of IDPS in the North-East region of the country, particularly in Borno state, had early this week came with some trucks of food items which were donated to the displaced persons in Maiduguri. Observations shown that, since the state engulfed with humanitarian crisis about two years ago, NEMA has been helpful to the IDPS.
The Director-General of NEMA, Alhaji Sani Sidi during a courtesy call to the state Governor, Kashim Shettima at the government House Maiduguri before presenting the relief items to the SEMA officials, assured him of the Agency’s unflinching support to the IDPS until their present predicament gets better. The DG further told the governor that, the items would sustain the IDPS for the next three months, after which they will do more.
Meanwhile, Governor Shettima whose heart was full of appreciation over the gesture, pointed to the fact that, NEMA under the leadership of Sani Sidi has done a lot to the IDPS in the North-East, adding that, it is the best performing Federal Government Parastatals in the country. As it is now, the arrangement is that, the Borno State Government will henceforth only shoulder condiments for IDPS foods and medical expenses while NEMA will be providing food and other house hold items.
Meanwhile, some of the displaced persons interviewed at various camps said, despite the fact that, NEMA, State Government through SEMA and other spirited individuals have been quite helpful to their predicament,  should also know that no place like home. “We actually appreciate what Governments and some other people are doing to us at the camps but we need to go home because there is no place like home.
We want the Military to expedite action to deal with these Boko Haram once and for all so that we can go back to our towns and villages” they lamented.
Bye and large, there are strong indications that, the IDPS may soon heave sigh of relief as the State Government in collaboration with NEMA have concluded arrangement to start re-building all the communities ravaged by Boko Haram uprising, while the Military had earlier assured Nigerians of this readiness this time round to reclaim completely some of the communities that the terrorists still occupy as their territories.