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Life in IDPs’ camps: Challenges and prospect



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The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Durumi, Area 1 in the Federal Capital Territory started on Feb. 15, 2014 due to Boko Haram insurgency with a population of 2,830 persons.

Statistics shows that the number of household in the camp is about 215; adults above 45 years of age — 103, youths between 15 years and 45 years of age — 1,750, children between one year and 15 years of age — 740, while orphans are put at 22 persons.

The camp also existed through three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

Speaking on the challenges in the camp, Mr Umaru Gola, the Camp Public Relation officer, said that the major issues the displaced persons were facing centered on health and education.

Gola said that government intervention towards their welfare was only five per cent and the rest were from some spirited Nigerians.

He said that the camp lacked formal education system, saying that some children in the camp were not in school.

According to him, out of 245 school children, 200 are in school courtesy of some spirited Nigerians while the rest are yet to be enrolled due to lack of sponsorship.

On health issue, Gola said that the medical care they are enjoying came from Network Aid for Humanitarian Assistance, a non-governmental organisation in Abuja.

Accoding to him, the container which the camp is using for health care is divided into two sections; one side for maternity services while the other is for general health care.

He, however, said that although there was a trained traditional birth attendant, there were no necessary drugs in the place not even analgesics.

“Two years ago, when the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq was the Federal Commissioner for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, she was given us letter of permission to National Hospital for health care management, especially at emergency situation but after a while that stopped.

“If health challenges will be taking care of we will cope with other issues because we are farmers we fed for ourselves,’’ he said.

Gola further mentioned the issue of National Identity Number (NIN) registration for IDPs in FCT as another challenge.

He explained that about two weeks to Christmas in 2020, the National Identity Management Commission brought two laptops to the camp for the registration but could not register anyone due to network problem.

“Since then we have not been able to do the registration, we have 18 IDPs camps in Abuja, and none of the displaced persons is registered to obtain the NIN and it is given us serious concern,’’ he said.

He, therefore, pleaded with the government to help them to register with NIMC and obtain the NIN as they are also citizens of Nigeria.

He, however, said that he wished to return to his ancestral home to continue his normal way of life but “only when their safety is assured.

“I do not wish to stay here forever, if government could guarantee security in the north-east, no place like home or government could resettle us in other places that are more safe’’.

He called on the government to consider their plight and do the needful so that they could be more independent and contribute meaningfully to the society.

Similarly, Mrs Liyatu Ayuba, women leader and the traditional birth attendant in the camp, said that she had spent eight years in the camp, saying that there was no much government presence in the camp.

Ayuba said that she was trained for four months on how to deliver mothers of babies which she had been doing successfully by the grace of God.

She said that she had helped expectant mothers to give birth to more than 128 children within and outside the camp.

She explained that after delivery, she usually took the child and mother to hospital for proper care although she administered some drugs to them based on her training experience.

“If the expectant mother had her baby successfully, we give her some injections to prevent bleeding but if there is complication we take her to primary health care at Area 2.

“But so far I have not had any complication during and after delivery of the babies,’’ she said.

Ayuba, however, said that there was no government intervention as it concerned health care except some individual support from the public and spirited Nigerians.

She, therefore, appealed to federal government to provide them with some empowerment tools, adding the many of the women in the camp were skilled but no money to start up their businesses.

She said that out of 220 women in the camp, no fewer than 40 of them were empowered through some non-governmental organisations.

According to her, the number of women that learnt tailoring is 52, production of liquid soap — 37, production of caps –34 while the numbers of men that are equally skilled are 135.

Similarly, the story is not different in Wasa IDPs Camp; the management of the camp still complained that government has neglected them.

In spite of the challenges in the IDPs camps there are still time for merriment and celebration as marriages/anniversaries are observed in
the camps.

Concerned Nigerians, therefore, plead with government do find lasting solution to IDPs’ plights. (NANFeatures)

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