The Guardian
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IDPs camps as slaughter grounds


letterSIR: Shock and unbelief should aptly describe the suicide bombings that reportedly killed 58 and injured another 78 in a Borno refugee camp early this month.  This incident goes to prove the vulnerability of some of our refugee camps where the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are sheltered. The same report also claimed that the insurgency had killed 20,000 people, and made 2.5 million refugees spread across Nigeria’s borders.

But we may not expect any respite soon as long as the nation’s leadership is torn between primordial and religious sentiments at the expense of national security. The IDPs were forced to leave their homes as a result of the insurgency. And a place that is created at Dikwa to serve as a refugee for about 50,000 of them has suddenly become a slaughter ground and hence no longer secure. No one knows where these IDPs can feel secure again.

The import of this recent incident should not be lost on our military strategists and policy makers. It shows that anybody in the midst of the IDPs may fall victim. And this reality may discourage humanitarian/ religious organizations or even VIPs (Very Important Personalities) from paying regular visits to their camps for fear of bombings which may further compound the IDPs welfare problems. There is therefore an urgent need to beef up security in and around the IDPs camps. Visitors should be properly screened. Even random checking should be carried out regularly within the camps in the interest of the IDPs themselves. Obviously, there is more danger in female bombers aided by their controversial dressing in public.

Curiously, it is only in Nigeria that the internal enemy will expose and establish its modus operandi and yet policy makers would refuse to shift grounds and instead, repeatedly fall into the same traps due to religious sentiments.
*Gbemiga Olakunle,
General Secretary, National Prayer Movement.

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