ILLEGAL IDP CAMP: REASONS BEHIND THE POOR CONDITION
Some Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs), at Fariya camp in Maiduguri, Borno, have decried their poor living condition amidst Eid-el-Fitr celebrations. The IDPs made the complaints in separate interviews on Friday. Malam Jiddah Ambari, the leader of the camp said the IDPs in the camp celebrated Sallah with little joy, but a spokesman of National Emergency Management Agency(NEMA) said the camp would never attract government attention as it is illegal.
Ambari said that more than 5,000 IDPs in the camp celebrated this year’s Eid-el-Fitr without enough food or clothes. He listed poor feeding, sanitary condition, lack of proper medical attention and poor security as some of the challenges in the camp. “We are left to eke out a living on our own. Many people fast in excruciating hardship without nothing to eat. The last time food was supplied in this camp was nine months ago by Save The Children, a Non Governmental Organisation. “They supported us with cash and some food items on monthly basis but the program had wound up. Most of us now survived through hustling. Those with no means had to engage in street begging to make a living. “We are from Marte local government area. Since we came to this camp in the last three years, nobody from either National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), or State Emergency Management Agency(SEMA), ever came to our aid,”he said. Ambari urged government and the humanitarian organisations to come to their aid. “They must stop calling us unofficial IDPs, because we are also citizens of Nigeria displaced by Boko Haram insurgency,”he said. Mustapha Abdallah, another IDP narrated the same complaints, adding many children and women who took ill were not given mefical attention. “The Non Government Organisation (NGOs), at some point shared Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), for the malnourished children in the camp but the mothers ended up eating the supplement because they were hungry. “We are parmanently challenged by many problems. As you can see, we have more than 2,000 children but none are going to school. “Most parents in the camp cannot afford to send their children to school because of the conditions they found themselves. “We beg you in the name of Allah to plead with the government to come to our rescue. Tell them the true picture of our plight. Ummulkhultum Muhammad, a mother of two, also said that she lost her two-year-old daughter, as a result of the poor living condition in the camp, four months ago. Muhammed urged the government to adopt proactive measures to address the challenges being faced by persons displaced by Boko Haram adding that such persons deserved to be supported. Ibrahim Kachalla, another IDP, appealed to government to support the IDPs with farm inputs to enable them engage in farming and become self-reliant. Kachalla lamented that life was becoming difficult everyday urging well-meaning Nigerians to come to their aid. Reacting, Malam Bashir Garga, Zonal Coordinator, National Emergency Management Agency, denied the claims, saying the camp was illegally set up. Garga said that the state government had provided designated camps housing people from each of the local government displaced by Boko Haram but some IDPs refused to go there. He lamented that Boko Haram elements can easily infiltrate into such camps, disguised as IDPs, to cause havoc. “Such camps are normally left on their own. They will not attract government attention. “And even if you ask them to leave the place, they will go and form another camp elsewhere. And this is why I say such a camp is very dangerous. “But as government, we have adopted measures to empower such persons. After Sallah, most of the IDPs will be relocated to their localities. “All the IDPs, including the undesignated ones, will be supported with relief and resettlement materials to go back home and become self-reliant,”he said. (NAN)