The Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has banned all forms of political gatherings in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps across the state.
The agency announced the ban in a statement issued on Friday by its Executive Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Shior, following a political rally in one of the camps at Daudu in October.
Mr Shior explained that the decision became necessary in order to avoid any public embarrassment on the displaced persons and to stop political figures from using the IDPs’ misfortunes for cheap capital.
He decried that the rally which held on Friday last week left behind many issues that deserve very strong caution and portray some political leaders in a very bad light.
The SEMA boss said, “Let it be noted that cross carpeting in the Nigerian context of politicking can be done at any time by anybody, but the manner the Daudu event was done leaves much to be desired for those cross carpeting and the ones receiving them.
“The choice of the venue is unacceptable and should be condemned in totality by all well-meaning Benue people and indeed Nigerians.”
Mr Shior admitted that there was no doubt that the IDPs were readily available to listen to anybody that visits them.
He added that the IDPs were always eager to hear the good news that they would soon return to their homes where they have been forced to stay away for about one year.
According to him, the most condemnable aspect of the action of the politicians is the intimidation and harassment of IDPs by heavily armed security personnel guarding members of the party.
“Some of the IDPs who spoke with me accused some party thugs of manhandling them when they spoke glowingly about the Benue State Government with regard to their upkeep in the camp upon interrogation.
“Checks revealed that a woman, who had a fracture in the course of the manhandling, is currently receiving treatment in an undisclosed location,” the executive secretary said.
The United Nations has called on the Nigerian Government to step up efforts towards protecting innocent people from acts of violence in the country.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, made the call in a statement following Wednesday’s Boko Haram attack on an Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp and four villages in Borno State.
“I urge the Government of Nigeria to step up the protection of innocent people,” said Mr Kallon in the statement on Thursday in Abuja.
He condemned the terrorist attack on the settlements, especially on the IDP camp which hosts 12,600 civilians seeking refuge there after they were forced out of their homes by the violence in the North East.
The UN humanitarian coordinator noted that the insurgents killed at least eight people and injured dozens more, while women were kidnapped with houses looted and razed.
He added that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) confirmed that the violence left hundreds of persons displaced.
“Attacks on camps for internally displaced people threaten these innocent women, children and men who have already fled their homes as a result of the ongoing conflict,” Kallon decried.
“Our deepest condolences go to the families of the victims of this attack and we wish the injured a speedy recovery.”
The UN official explained that the attack took place in one of the nine IDP camps in Dalori and the camps which were set up since 2015 were home to 47,500 civilians.
More than 20 aid organisations are providing aid including food, safe water, sanitation, medicine and shelter to thousands of people.
Kallon said the terrorists attacked Dalori village in January 2016, killing no fewer than 100 people and burning most of the village down.
He described the humanitarian crisis in the North East, which has spilled over into the Lake Chad region, as one of the most severe in the world.
According to him, 7.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in 2018 in the worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, and 6.1 million targeted for humanitarian assistance.
Since the start of the conflict in 2009, thousands of people have been killed in the three states, with thousands of women and girls abducted used as so-called “suicide” bombers.
So far, at least 40 people have been killed with over 100 homes submerged by the flood.
The state governor, Abubakar Bello, says the situation is beyond the state’s control and has, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to intervene.
With the increase in rainfall and flooding across several states, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to declare it a national disaster.
Subsequently, the agency made the declaration in four states and placed eight others on the watch list.
The four states are Kogi, Niger, Delta and Anambra.
Prior to that development, NEMA’s Director-General, Mustapha Maihaja, had inaugurated five Emergency Operation Centres (EOC) to facilitate prompt search and rescue operations as well as humanitarian support in the 12 worst-hit states.
The Emergency Response Centres will be responsible for planning, organising, directing and supervising deployment of resources with the affected state governments and local authorities and communities.
President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the killing of an aid worker, Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, who was kidnapped at an Internally Displaced Persons camp by Boko Haram terrorists about six months ago in Borno State.
In a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu on Monday, the President described the act as heinous and despicable.
He also called for the assistance of Nigeria’s international partners to stop the acts of barbarism.
He said, “the government of Nigeria strongly condemns this reprehensible and inhuman act. No religion permits the killing of the innocent. Saifura worked for the Red Cross, a humanitarian organization tirelessly working to bring succor to all the victims of violence irrespective of the sides of the conflict.”
The statement further disclosed that the terrorists have equally threatened to harm others, including the lone Dapchi school girl, Leah Sharibu, still in their custody.
President Buhari, however, gave the assurance that his administration will seize every given opportunity to bring home all citizens held against their will by the terrorists.
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country that his administration will leave no stone unturned in restoring their devastated communities for their immediate and safe return.
He gave the assurance on Friday in Abuja in a statement by Attah Esa, the Deputy Director of Information at the State House.
The President congratulated the 2,000 IDPs at the Kuchingoro Camp in the Federal Capital Territory who are getting set to return to their communities in the North-east.
He spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, who received the IDPs at the precincts of the Aso Rock Villa on his behalf.
President Buhari vowed that his administration would not forget citizens in their time of distress and would continue to work for the betterment and security of the people.
He also used the opportunity to thank members of the international community and Nigerians, including Mr Aliko Dangote, General T.Y. Danjuma, and other philanthropists, for their sustained efforts towards the reconstruction and rehabilitation of destroyed communities in the troubled region.
Responding on behalf of the displaced persons who were mainly women and children, Mrs Maryam Nuhu thanked President Buhari’s administration for the onslaught against the Boko Haram terrorists and the ongoing reconstruction of their communities.
She said, “Our towns and villages have been cleared of these terrorists. We can now confidently return home and pick up our lives from the points where we will meet them.
“Mr President, thanks for making this possible for us to be returning home. Our sad story took a turn for the better because of the calibre of military leaders you appointed.”
The Benue State Government has asked medical practitioners to address the health challenges among the over 170,000 Internally Displaced Persons taking refuge in seven camps.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Cecilia Ojabo made the call during the flag off of a three-day medical outreach organised by the Nigerian Air Force Medical Corps at the Abagana IDP camp in Makurdi.
The medical outreach became necessary following the death of Six IDPs, mostly children who were worst hit by the humanitarian crisis, starvation and malnutrition among the other children in the camps.
For three months running, local farmers and vulnerable groups like women, the elderly and children, have been displaced from their communities in Guma, Logo, Agatu, Okpokwu and Makurdi local councils.
The IDP camps, built to accommodate far less than 10,000 persons, now accommodates between 15, 000 to 34, 000 IDPs.
However, the health implication of overcrowding here is the outbreak of communicable diseases like cholera, malaria and diarrhoea among the IDPs.
But the Heath Commissioner has urged them to take advantage of the medical aid, as she beckons on medical practitioners for support.
With the three days health intervention, part of the humanitarian crisis is being addressed, but food shortage, adequate water supply and the need to step up security for the safe return would be appropriate at this time.
Humanitarian workers have pulled out of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
The decision followed the outbreak of violence in the camp during a protest by the IDPs over the quantity of food brought in for distribution.
The Gubio Road IDP camp is home to displaced persons from 11 local governments of the state, and one of the 13 government recognised IDP camps in Maiduguri.
The needs of the affected population are enormous and almost insatiable, even with the team of government aid agencies and humanitarian partners.
On Saturday last week, displaced persons were angry with the quantity of food brought in for distribution and reacted violently, smashing cars and injuring some humanitarian workers until security forces contained the mayhem.
Following the incident, all humanitarian activities in the camp were suspended until the safety of the humanitarian workers was guaranteed.
– Two Bowls Of Sorghum A Month –
One of the IDPs, Ibrahim Abubakar, explained the reasons for the protest during an interview when Channels Television crew visited the camp.
Abubakar said, “We were angry with these people (humanitarian workers) not because of the sorghum they gave us, but because we simply asked for a quantity that would adequately feed us and our families.”
“Two bowls cannot sustain us for a whole month, no one can survive on two bowls of sorghum for a whole month; that is our problem. But if they bring food that would sustain us up to a month we would be happy.”
Another displaced person, Maimuna Kassum, said, “The protest was done because of the delay in food distribution and when they finally came, they didn’t bring enough. That was why people protested.”
“In the past, they used to give us rice but this time around they brought sorghum; two bowls for every family for the next one month.
“It won’t be enough since we have children and that’s why people got impatient and did what they did. With this kind of problems, returning home would have been better for us, it’s just that we don’t have a home when we return,” she lamented.
– Choice Of Rice Over Sorghum –
On its part, the Borno State Emergency Management Agency condemned the attack on aid workers by the angry IDPs in their camp.
The Chairman of SEMA, Ahmed Satomi, noted that the protest was not as a result of food shortage in the camp as claimed, but the choice of food requested by the IDPs.
Satomi said, “The Gubio incident is not an issue of insufficient food but a breach of communication, based on complaints by the IDPs over their choices of rice over sorghum while others preferred sorghum over rice.”
“So in the process, there was a delay for about one week while we were trying to sort things out and then an issue came up that if they are taking sorghum, the ration has to be increased.
“All these should not give them room to attack humanitarian workers, this is unacceptable and we are working with the security agencies to arrive at a common ground so that the distribution will continue,” he explained.
The SEMA Chairman said the efforts of the military has reduced the number of IDPs living in camps in Maiduguri in the last few weeks from 158,000 to 147,000.
He noted that the return process was, however, voluntary in line with the Kampala Convention.
Earlier, the UNHCR had stated that the needs of the affected population living in IPD camps can never be satisfied through humanitarian means.
The UNHCR’s Representative to Nigeria/ ECOWAS, Antonio Canhandula, who addressed a gathering in Borno State last week, said the only viable solution was to work towards returning the IDPs home.
“We can never have enough for the IDPs. We are talking about hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people who are in need and you cannot continue assisting these populations in a humanitarian form forever.
“You also have other humanitarian responsibilities around the world and there is competition for resources and then the best thing is to help the government to create conditions for people to return home. It will never be enough,” Canhandula said.
Three persons have been killed following a suicide bombing attack at Dalori 1 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Borno State, northeast Nigeria.
A statement by the Public Relations Officer of the northeast National Emergency Management Agency, Abdulkadir Ibrahim revealed that the incident occured at about 11.20 PM on Sunday.
According to the statement, two suicide bombers (a male and female) detonated their Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) at the IDP camp leading to the death of three persons while 17 others were injured.
Another incident was said to have occurred at Dalori 2 IDP camp where a suicide bomber was intercepted leading to the death of only the bomber.
The statement said injured persons have been administered with first aid and moved to hospitals in Maiduguri, the state capital.
This incident is coming hours after three female suicide bombers were killed by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole while trying to infiltrate their location at Kawuri Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State.
The suicide bombers were spotted by a vigilant sentry while trying to access the military location.
They were challenged severally and continued advancing, declining several warnings to stop.
Consequently, the troops neutralised them instantly.
Over 300 Internally Displaced Person’s presently at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camp in Adamawa State are being relocated by the state government.
Although some of the IDPs are refusing to go to Malkohi camp, most of them have already moved to their new camp.
This is coming after the IDPs lived at the NYSC camp for three years.
According to the state government, the camp will now accommodate corps members posted to Adamawa State for orientation camping.
The Executive Secretary Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency, Haruna Furo says while some of the displaced persons are to be in Malkohi camp in Yola south Local Government Area, others will be going to the host communities or their liberated hometowns.
A Borno State High Court has convicted two men with a fine of one million naira each, for selling bags of rice meant for Internally Displaced Persons in Mafa Local Government Area of the state.
The two accused persons are Umar Ibrahim, a local politician, and Bulama Zangebe, a Supervisory Councillor in Mafa LGA.
The first defendant in the case was a former Care Taker Chairman from the same area, Shettima Maina, on whose directive the crime was carried.
The convicts were found guilty of the four count charges preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which centred on conspiring to sell and misappropriate proceeds of rice meant for IDPs in Mafa LGA.
They were charged and sentenced by Justice Fadawu Umar, who said Umar and Bulama had through the hearing, contradicted themselves in their testimonies.
The convicts told the court that the former council chairman ordered them to sell off the rice because the IDPs had complained that they were tired of eating rice every day.
They also claimed that the rice belonged to soldiers of the Nigerian Army who wanted to sell them to travel for Christmas.
The accused persons told the court that the N1.4m realised from sale of the rice was used to purchase maize for the displaced persons.
They were charged alongside Mr Maina, who was declared at large during the time of the hearing in court, as he was said to be in the custody of Operation Lafiya Dole for alleged links with Boko Haram.
“On January 5, 2017, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission received an intelligence report against the defendants that sometimes in 2016, the defendants on the instruction of the Care Taker Chairman of Mafa Local Government Area, Shittema Lawan Maina, sold 300 bags of rice meant for the Internally Displaced Persons of Mafa LGA, and misappropriated the proceed to their personal use,” a brief by the EFFCC read.
After verifying the claims, it was revealed that the 200 hundred bags of maize discovered had been in the store long before the theft and sale of the rice donated by the Danish Refugee Council.
“These lies and contradictory statements have proven beyond any reasonable doubt, that the accused have committed the crime which is punishable under Sections 308 and 309 of the Penal Code Law, and 97 of the Panel Code Cap 345 of Northern States of Nigeria, and thereby sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of one million naira,” Justice Umar said.
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) estimates that nearly 50,000 children are severely malnourished as a result of the food insecurity.
UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Omar Abdi, stated this in Maiduguri after a tour of camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) both within and outside the Borno State capital.
Mr Abdi led a team of UNICEF officials from the offices in New York, Dakar and Abuja to undertake an on-the-spot needs assessment among the affected population.
“We have scaled up our programmes in working with other partners and supporting government efforts. So far the nutrition community has reached 12,000 children that are severely malnourished per month.
“We need to quadruple that number in order to reach all of the children that are severely malnourished. If they are not treated quickly, they are at risk of dying both from malnutrition and from other diseases such as diarrhoea and malaria and so on,” he said
The UNICEF team is also concerned about the education and access to clean water for thousands of children affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria.
According to the UNICEF Regional Director, Marie Pierre Poirier, access to clean water was another area of concern.
“The Thing that we have seen over the last days that is really strong is how the response in Nigeria to deal with this food insecurity tries to capitalise and attack the problem from different angle.
“So good distribution is very important but that’s not sufficient to get the kids out of that situation. In every IDP camp, we saw that there was a desire from our Nigerian counterparts with the help of UNICEF and partners to really bring in that aspect of water because if you don’t have safe water, you don’t have hygiene and you will create conditions where children cannot maintain the food in their body”, she explained.
UNICEF said even though resources are scarce and the time is short, there is a need to take advantage of any opportunity to tackle the problem.
The agency expressed readiness to increase its support and fill the gaps they have observed in their tours.