Overstretched Resources, Mass Displacement In Borno Camps Worry UN

A new settlement/ IDP Camp under construction in Borno State.

 

The ongoing insurgency in the North East has continued to take its toll on the people in the affected communities, leaving thousands displaced and helpless.

With the steady increase in the number of displaced persons, resources have become overstretched and among other things, the health risks are at an all-time-high as IDP camps get over-crowded.

Twenty-year-old Aisha Ali who is a mother of three and a divorcee from Monguno Local Government Area in Borno State, is one of the many victims of the insurgency in Nigeria’s North East.

Read Also: Several Reported Dead As Fire Guts Borno IDP Camp

Teary-eyed and carrying her twin babies in each arm, she narrated her ordeal to Channels Television.

 

“I am not originally from this camp. I went to Jiddari where there was a temporary shed for displaced people. So I stayed with a woman I met there. But when they came and killed people we all ran away,” she said.

Many had fled to the Teachers’ Village where an IDP camp has now been established.

 

It was initially built in January 2014 by the Borno State Government to serve as an accommodation for teachers in the state but by 2015 it became home to thousands of displaced persons fleeing from the insurgents.

Since November 2018, the camp has absorbed more than 20,000 newly displaced persons, bringing its total population to over 31,000 as against the planned capacity of about 5,000.

Congested IDP camp

 

“This camp initially is meant for about five or six thousand people but it has close to 10,000 because comfortably, people are living there. But there has been a mass influx of people as a result of the insurgency, so its population is now over 31 thousand,” an official of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in Borno, Usman Kachalla said.

 

 

The development has also become a source of serious concern for humanitarian partners like the UN who say they are worried about the imminent dangers such as fire accidents or disease outbreaks, among other things, associated with such congested living conditions.

But the Borno State government is stepping in to help in this regard by constructing new shelters for the displaced persons.

Already, some of the IDPs have started to relocate to the alternative shelter provided by the state government. One of the women leaders, Lami Mohammed, expressed gratitude over the new settlement.

“You cannot compare how we live here and the other place. Honestly, in the past we really faced difficult times; cold, mosquitoes and we were just outside. Our husbands slept in the open but here, we have our dignity and privacy and there’s enough space for everyone”.

 

Despite the provision of the basic amenities by the government, the welfare of the IDPs remains a topic of concern especially as women and children consist about 87% of the displaced population.

How Terror Attacks Threaten To Deprive IDPs Their Franchise In Adamawa

Nigerian Army Donates Instructional Materials To Adamawa IDPs

 

A few weeks ago INEC in conjunction with the European Union had expressed concerns over the non-inclusion of a reasonable number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) living in the two IDP camps in Yola, Adamawa state.

The event was to sensitize the IDPs for the general elections.

It is now a few hours before the first ballots are cast, the question then is, ‘what preparations have been put in place to ensure that those with updated permanent voter cards have to the opportunity to elect their own leaders?’.

The two IDP camps in Adamawa state have a population of about 2600 persons including women and children.

Out of this number, about 900 IDPs in the two camps of Malkohi and Fufore have their PVCs.What is however worrisome is that less than twenty persons at the Malkohi camp will be able to exercise their franchise by casting their votes in polling units in the nearby communities.

A large number of them were not able to transfer their polling units because, according to them, they were shut out of the revalidation process.

The woman leader at the Malkohi IDP Camp in Yola, Mrs Fatimah Hassan said she registered for the elections in Marraraba Mubi and had to escape from Boko Haram to this camp at the peak of insurgency.

READ ALSO: How 409,000 IDPs, Others Will Vote In Borno – INEC

“I don’t know if there is an arrangement to take us to Mubi because since yesterday I was prepared to go and cast my votes. There are others who are also in the same condition with me in this camp but we cannot participate” she lamented.

She, therefore, appealed to the government to assist the IDPs in possession of their PVCs to return to their units to vote for their leader.

Adams Ali.

When they started the revalidation exercise we were not informed that there will be elections, we were completely forgotten. This card is the one we escaped with from Boko Haram invasion.. This is what am holding now. We are treated as if we are not Nigerians at all.

Some of the eligible voters in the Malkohi IDP camp express their frustration over this development.

Buba Gwuhari

” We had series of meetings on our participating in the elections by those of us in this IDP camp. Those of us with the PVCs will go to communities around Malkohi camp to cast our votes.”

Adams Ali

” It is now certain that those eligible to participate in the elections will not be allowed by INEC because of the Inability of the authorities to include them in the exercise.”

The INEC Director of Publicity Mrs Rifkatu Maxwell while reacting to the inability to capture the IDPs said sometimes ago INEC had a voter registration for eighteen months before it was closed.

She argued that the responsibility of letting INEC know of the case of the IDPs lies I’m the hand of Adamawa state Emergency Management Agency and NEMA.

According to her, these agencies did not draw the attention of INEC to a large number of IDPs with this problem. If they have been notified INEC will have taken action, she concluded.

As things are, less than twenty persons are now eligible to participate in tomorrow’s presidential election if information from the IDPs is anything to go by.

Three Killed As Fire Guts IDP Camp In Borno

 

Three persons have been killed in a fire outbreak that occurred at an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Monguno, Borno State.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) confirmed this in a statement on Friday by its Head of Media and Public Relations, Mr Sani Datti.

According to him, the incident occurred on Thursday at the camp which houses nearly 8,000 IDPs.

The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, while sympathising with the victims said the fire started in a family cooking area in front of a shelter made of straw, bamboo and plastic sheeting, sweeping through the Stadium Camp.


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UN Humanitarian Coordinator Sympathizes With Victims Of Borno IDP Camp Fire

Remains of the blaze in a camp in Monguno, Borno State, Nigeria. 7 February 2019. Photo: Barka Joseph/IOM

 

The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, has expressed his sympathy to those affected by a fire outbreak in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Monguno town, Borno State.

In a statement issued on Friday, Kallon said nearly 8,000 IDPs who are residents of the camp were affected by the incident.

According to him, the fire started in a family cooking area in front of a shelter made of straw, bamboo and plastic sheeting, and swept through the Stadium Camp.

It was said to have razed over 900 temporary shelters and claimed the lives of at least three people, including two children and one elderly woman.

“The impact of the fire outbreak on the already fragile lives of thousands of vulnerable women, children and men is tragic. The United Nations and our partners extend our condolences to the families of the people who died and our deepest sympathies to the victims of the fire,” said Mr. Kallon.

“The humanitarian community stands in solidarity with those affected. It is imperative to immediately identify additional land to build new shelters for the displaced people and decongest the existing camps.”

Read Also: NEMA Confirms Three Killed In Borno IDP Camp Fire

Many of the internally displaced people in Stadium Camp had fled Baga town, on the shores of Lake Chad, at the end of December 2018, following clashes between the military and non-state armed groups.

According to Kallon, this massive influx of people, all in need of shelter, food and other humanitarian assistance, has stretched the capacity of camps in Monguno, leading to congestion.

This congestion heightens the risk of fire outbreaks with makeshift and temporary shelters built too closely together in the confined spaces.

He, however, noted that humanitarian actors, in support of the Federal Government, are working to identify additional land for the construction of shelters to accommodate the displaced people and mitigate fire hazards.

According to him, awareness campaigns are also being done to inform people living in the camps on ways to prevent fire outbreaks.

IDPs: Womens Rights Group Calls For Prosecution Of Govt Officials Accused Of Sexual Abuses

 

The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) has called for urgent investigations and prosecution of all government officials accused of committing sexual abuses against women in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps in the northeast.

The Senior Program Coordinator, Mrs Anisah Ari, made the call for the prosecution on Friday at a meeting with survivors of sexual abuses in Abuja.

According to her, most female victims of sexual abuses in the IDP camps are forced into sex by camp attendants including some security officials who request for sex in exchange for food.

 

She said, “Those who have been sent out to protect these women and girls in the IDP camps are actually the perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence, engaging these women in survival sex, where they give sex in demand for food”.

The Federal Government had enacted the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015 to punish offenders.

However, the women rights group believes that the with the increase of displaced persons especially in the northeast, various kinds of abuses have been on the rise.

According to the group, if not checked, it would result in health complications for many of the victims which in turn makes them live in isolation as a result of shame and stigma.

China Donates N6m Worth Of Relief Materials To Plateau IDPs

 

The Peoples Republic of China has donated relief materials worth about N6 million to Internally Displaced Persons in Plateau State.

Deputy Chinese Ambassador, Mr Lin Jing, presented the items during a ceremony organised by the Civil-Military Relief Initiative and Operation Safe Haven on Friday at the Angul Di Internally Displaced camp, Jos.

 

Benue SEMA Bans Political Activities In IDP Camps

Govt Bans Political Activities In Benue IDP Camps

 

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.

IDP Camp Attack: UN Asks FG To Protect Innocent Citizens

IDP Camp Attack: UN Asks FG To Protect Innocent Citizens
One of the villages which came under attack by Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State on October 31, 2018.

 

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.

Nigerian Air Force Provides Medical Support To Persons Displaced By Flood

 

The Nigerian Air Force has commenced a five-day medical outreach at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Zungeru, Niger State, following the flooding in the state.

Currently, about 1,200 persons are being accommodated in the camp after their homes were submerged and their farmlands destroyed, as water from the Shiroro and Zungeru dams overflowed.

As the government tries to manage the situation, the Air Force says the outreach is expected to complement its efforts, as well as help to reduce the risks of an outbreak of diseases.

Health workers in the camp say malaria, cholera and diarrhoea are major ailments already being presented by the IDPs.

Read Also:  Niger State Govt Seeks FG Intervention As Flood Kills 40

At Least 40 Killed

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.

Read More: NEMA Inaugurates Emergency Centres As Floods Displace Thousands

The primary objective is to localize the responses and expedite intervention to save lives and facilitate quick recovery.

President Buhari Condemns Killing Of Aid Worker, Saifura

SDP Asks Buhari To Take Decisive Action Against Killings
File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari

 

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.

Read Also: Red Cross Condemns Killing Of Aid Worker In Borno

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.

Buhari Pledges To Restore Devastated Communities In North-East

Buhari Pledges To Restore Devastated Communities In North-East
Ariel View of an IDP Camp in Borno State, North-east Nigeria.

 

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.”

Benue Govt Seeks Intervention To Address IDPs’ Health Issues

HRW Accuses Officials Of Rape, Exploitation Of Female IDP's  

 

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.