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‘Why we sell food stuffs donated to us at IDP Camp’

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[FILES] In this photo taken on September 15, 2016 women and children queue to enter one of the Unicef nutrition clinics at the Muna makeshift camp which houses more than 16,000 IDPs (internaly displaced people) on the outskirts of Maiduguri, Borno State, northeastern Nigeria.<br />Aid agencies have long warned about the risk of food shortages in northeast Nigeria because of the conflict, which has killed at least 20,000 since 2009 and left more than 2.6 million homeless. In July, the United Nations said nearly 250,000 children under five could suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year in Borno state alone and one in five — some 50,000 — could die. / AFP PHOTO / STEFAN HEUNIS

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the Durumi Camp in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have explained they sell foodstuffs donated to them to pay for hospital bills and cater for their other needs.

According to them, government has done little or nothing to ameliorate their plights and more often than not, patients taken by them to any of the general hospitals in the FCT are rejected because they are IDPs.

The Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the camp, Umoru Gida, speaking at the just-concluded Journalists for Christ International Outreach (JFC) media roundtable/public presentation of report on management of internal displacement crisis in Nigeria, said most of the bags of rice and Indomie donated to them are usually kept in the store, so that they can sell and use the proceeds to pay for hospitals bills.

He said during the COVID-19 lockdown, they shared only garri for their people, because they could not afford to be eating rice and Indomie when their people are rejected at the hospitals over their inability to pay bills, adding: “Some of our people who have been having severe health challenges are not attended to at the National Hospital and we are no longer recognised.”

On the issue of insecurity, Umoru lamented that the situation in the camp was being fuelled by the heavy presence of drug barons along the Area I Garage and the camp, who use most of the youths as peddlers.

He said: “Because of lack of money, some of our youths now work for these miscreants who pay them N2, 000 to N3, 000 to commit crimes for them within the FCT.

“Some of our boys have also become drug addicts and the IDP camps now harbours criminals.”

He lamented that several letters written to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS); Inspector General Office; Office of the National Security Adviser; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and many others to assist them rid the area of the drug pushers have fell on deaf hear.

Executive Director, Peace Development Project (Research Consultant), Francis Abayomi, in a brief overview, explained that the role of the media is very key in managing the IDP, adding that there are several camps not recognised and captured in the federal government’s plans, stressing the need to monitor how resources are disbursed and channeled to the IDPs.

He called for strengthening of the enabling laws in the management of the IDPs, while the welfare of security agents protecting the camps needs to prioritised.


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