IDPs Still In The Throes Of Untold Uncertainties

IDPs Still In The Throes Of Untold Uncertainties
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Ruth Gbaka

Among the many obvious challenges of food, clothing and shelter that an internally displaced person faces as a result of loss of home, family and livelihood are the untold stories of being re-displaced and the life after this harsh condition.

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The dismaying worries of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from new Kuchhingworo 11 camp who sought refuge in the Federal Capital Territory after the onslaught of the Boko Haram sect had sent them out of their homes and towns’ 7-years back is aggravating by the day.

They had cleared and settled down in an open land in tents and make-shift houses. They have expressed concerns and uncertainty as to what life holds for them after their stay in the camps amid cautious optimising for a better tomorrow.

 One of the IDPs from the camp who is a widower who pleaded anonymity revealed that he has been displaced for 7-years.

“My village in Garma, Borno State was attacked by Boko Haram. They slaughtered my wife and shot four of my children in the head. I was on the farm when this happened, when I heard it, I started running home, but all I could see was flames all over my house. Those that were running dragged me along and explained what happened. We kept running for five days, sleeping in the bush and eating whatever we found edible, before someone told us of this place and then we came here to settle”.

He further narrated that the land to which they occupy belongs to the gbagyi indigenes that are residents of the community and had planted cashew nuts for economic purposes but were allowed to occupy the land for the sake of sympathy.

 “The land owners have been so good to us. Giving us this land to occupy for free for seven years now, but they can’t continue to do this forever. They started pressuring us to leave in 2017, we pleaded and they gave us more time hoping that before 2020 the government will provide an alternative for us. On our part, we started making efforts to get another land that was when a non-governmental organization called OAB Foundation  gave a small space to us, we managed to build some school blocks so we can teach the children, but the space is too small for us to relocate, if we do, where will the rest go?

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     Bewailing on the living conditions they have found themselves, he said; the tents which they had constructed with pieces of old woods, zinc and polythene drips water whenever it rains accompanied with intense sun rays.

  “Anytime the sun is hot, you can’t run into the room to hide, the heat will drive you out and it because the zincs and materials we use to make this tent are just batched, some of them were already spoilt before we picked them and tried to use them, and the rain is even worse, once it comes, sometimes the wind is so heavy that it blows the tents away or ruins it, then we wait for the rain to stop before we rearrange and sleep with severe cold but we know this will all be over soon ” he said with enthusiasm.

Another IDP who also preferred not to be mentioned pleaded with the government to provide a place for them to stay; she has nowhere to go with her three children.

“I lost my husband and family to Boko Haram, they invaded our village one evening, shooting and slaughtering anybody in sight. I hid, closing the mouth of my children when they caught my husband and slaughtered him before my very eyes while I watched where I was hiding. I and my children slept in the bush for two days, we just kept running until we ran into some other people who also escaped and together we found our way to here, we got to this place in 2015 start life afresh. I came here with three of my children after my village was burnt, we got here and they took us in, gave us a space to create a tent and that is how I have been managing with my children for these years. But they are asking us to leave or tell the government to provide accommodation for us because they want to build and develop their lands. We have been begging them, because if they chase us out, we have nowhere to go”

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Expressing hope and optimism for the future she said, “I will raise my children and we will be fine. When Covid-19 hits, my children will go out to pluck cashew nuts and eat for breakfast dinner while we skip lunch. I just got a farm where I produce sweet potatoes, but now with this issue of where to go, what would I do? Where do I take my children to? I know it’s not going to be easy but like my last daughter who is seven years says; “Mummy, we will be fine and I believe we will.”

With the security threats looming in the country, one is left to ask the fate of the IDP youths when thrown out on the streets in the midst of Boko Haram terrorist, drug trafficking, human trafficking and so many other ills available to a young displaced individual who believes he or she has been abandoned by his country and government.

Earlier, it was learnt that the IDPs had threatened to join the Boko Haram recruitment in august 27, 2020 due to obvious deprivations and hunger in the camp, revealing that IDPs in Kuchingworo 2 camp no longer had access to government medical facility as they were left with no option but to sell their food items to raise funds for medical bills.

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 Counting the woes of the IDP in the camp, one of the IDPs who lost her family and home while in the university revealed that:

“Many of the IDPs here are educated; there are university graduates who either lost their schools or certificates as a result of the crisis where they fled from. I was in my 300 level studying economics when I got the message that my family had been killed by Boko Haram, and my home burnt. I couldn’t even go back; I had to run to this camp. Now, I don’t have a certificate, no family and no home. What is left of me as a woman? To marry and have children, grow old and die? Is that all my life is going to be worth?

She further commended Aisha Buhari, the first lady, Yemi Osinbajo the Vice-President and a host of others who visited during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown to deliver food items to them, pleading that they need something more tangible to sustain them like shelter. The 25 –year-old school dropout and other IDPs are pleading that the government intervenes by providing them a place to stay before they get thrown out and re-displaced.

The Boko Haram sect has been ferocious in its attacks in the North-east sub-region and has been taking an unmitigated toll on local communities.

 The United Nations Refugees Commission estimated that the conflict had displaced over 2.4 million people, putting more than seven million at risk of starvation.

Aljazirahnews


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