Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), living in the Federal Capital Territory, have not been having the best of times since insurgents dislodged them. REGINA OTOKPA reports on a recent experience at the Durumi IDPs’ camp
Stepping into the camp in a long convoy, one could see the expectations written all over the faces of the men, women and children who gathered to welcome the trio of foundations led by Huncho Foundation in Abuja.
It was threatening to rain but they did not mind the dark clouds and the possibility of being drenched because they have lived on charity for quite some time and could sense that the visitors might have come with some goodies.
Their living quarters is rather an unpalatable sight waiting to welcome visitors to the camp. It houses the over 3,000 persons living at the Durumi IDP camp. Day in, day out, stories of caregivers trooping in to the camp has continued to make headlines.
Huncho Foundation, through the help of the media, had rallied support from other foundations such as Help One Foundation, Market Women Association and well-meaning Nigerians, who had gathered in their numbers at the premises of WAZOBIA Radio Station, donating foodstuffs, cloths, toiletries and cash to assist the vulnerable living amongst them.
Zachary Aiji Audu, founder of the foundation, could not hold back himself when he stepped foot on the camp. Touched by the condition that over 3,000 people were subjected to live in for no just cause, he cried out to the Federal Government to focus more attention at the plight of displaced persons in the country.
“We are here today because we heard about what has been happening and we know that these people here are homeless, they were brought from other parts of the north because of the Boko Haram situation.
“We discovered that they needed help and with the help of the media, we announced so that more people and foundations will come and help since we heard that this camp houses more than 3,000 people and we cannot do it alone. We are here to help them. We brought foodstuffs, clothing. We also want to conduct free medical tests and offer free medication.
“We are not seeing structures. They stay in leather houses which are not even safe; definitely they are exposed to malaria and other diseases. I don’t see water or electricity. What we are seeing here is not good at all. We know there are other things distracting the government but I am advising them to do more than this because this people here are humans and they deserve to live better, ” he said.
Running around in their numbers, the young children, most of whom were born in the camp, could not utter a word in English. The school located in the camp was far from conducive to aid children assimilate knowledge from volunteer teachers.
Lamenting the poor condition of the school,Ace broadcaster, James Expensive, of WAZOBIA Radio, Abuja, told Inside Abuja that he was pained seeing and knowing that the children do not have access to quality education.
“We know they need help and we are meeting them at the point of their needs. It is not all about giving them food but empowering them because they need help. Some of them are supposed to be in school or learn a trade. Those who were engaged before they were dislodged need little finance to be able to go back to what they know how best to do,” he said.
Inside Abuja checks revealed that no child has been able to attend secondary school since the camp was assembled, due to lack of funds and inability of individuals and foundations who previously pledged scholarships to few of the children at the camp to fulfil their promises.
In a chat with Inside Abuja, spokesman of the IDP Camp, Mr. Idris Halilu, noted that the camp was in dire need of assistance from concerned Nigerians to survive. According to him, they were underfed and victims of rejection and abuse by Nigerians who had made millions from their plight.
“We need assistance in the area of farming. We are hoping to be able to plant beans before the month of September runs out. Someone gave us a farmland but we do not have seeds. If we can plant now, we can harvest between the next two to three months.
“We are underfed. Many of us eat once in a day or twice. This accommodation is zero as it is raining now it will enter the rooms because they are leaking. Education is zero and most of the government hospitals are rejecting IDPs. The National Hospital is the only government hospital in Abuja that accepts IDPs. Why is a Nigerian that has escaped death in his own country not having access to medical care?
“Abuja IDPs have nothing; we have nowhere to go .We want the Future Assure Programme of Aisha Buhari to ensure that it touches our lives because the money and properties donated has not reached the IDPs in Abuja,” he lamented.
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