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Insecurity: IDPs groan amid worsening humanitarian crisis in Niger

Insecurity: IDPs groan amid worsening humanitarian crisis in Niger

Humanitarian crisis in Niger State has worsened, with thousands of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, struggling to survive.

DAILY POST reports that the IDPs, in various camps in three local governments of Shiroro, Munya, and Rafi, are living in deplorable conditions.

Mostly women and children, they were forced to flee their homes due to violent attacks from bandits and Boko Haram extremists in the Northern region.

Apart from poor housing within the IDPs camps, a gross violation of their rights and poor sanitation, they are also facing inadequate access to basic necessities like food, water, as well as healthcare.

It was further observed that owing to insufficient food, malnutrition is rampant, with many children suffering from stunting and poor hygiene.

The spread of diseases such as cholera and diarrhea have also been blamed on inadequate access to clean water and sanitation facilities.

During a visit to the camps in Rafi Local Government Area, as well as Gwada and Kuta in Shiroro Local Government Area, the IDPs, who are majorly farmers, decried neglect and ill treatment meted on them by the state government, with no source of livelihood to enable them cater for their families.

“We don’t know when the government is going to put an end to these security challenges that have dislodged us from our homes and farmlands.

“That is why we are asking the government to relocate us by getting us another place where we can start our lives all over.

“Because, as it is, bandits and Boko Haram members have taken over many of our communities. Our people are presently scattered across various LGs in the state and even many other neighbouring states,” some of the victims told our correspondent.

They observed with dismay the housing situation which they described as appalling, with overcrowding, no privacy or personal space, insufficient food, no beddings, leading to discomfort and health issues.

Speaking on the difficult conditions being experienced by the IDPs at the Kuta camp, the Shiroro LG, IDP Desk Officer and Coordinator, Yusuf Bala Kuta, in an interview during a visit to the camp, listed lack of adequate food provision as the major problem facing the victims.

According to him, currently, 50 malnourished children were receiving medical treatment due to inadequate food for breastfeeding mothers in the camp, just as many children have no access to education.

The Deck Officer stated that the camp has on record over 5,000 IDPs, out of which a total of 1,119 are women, 2,511 children, 87 men, including 38 women and their husbands from Zamfara State.

“This IDPs camp was established in 2019 and we have victims from 42 communities from three LGs.

“We have eight blocks of classrooms at the Central Primary School, Kuta, for the IDPs. The centre caters for over 5,000 IDPs, out of which almost 4,000 sleep in the camp.

“About 80 persons are cramped in a room, while others sleep outside the camp. The situation is not easy for the victims as they have no sources of livelihood,” he lamented.

He added that, “the IDPs are suffering because their communities have been burnt down by bandits or Boko Haram sect.

“Some of them are sick and currently in the hospital and we don’t have adequate drugs.

“That is why we are calling on the state government and other relevant authorities to come to our aid.

“However, we thank the Nigerian Red Cross for the recent support.”

An IDP at the Kuta camp, Ahmed Al-Mustapha from Bassa community noted that since the military vacated their communities, the criminals have continued to unleash attacks on a daily basis.

“Currently, the Boko Haram members, who are attacking and slaughtering our people, are demanding that we should vacate our lands totally,” he lamented.

Also, a widow, Hasiya Shuaibu disclosed that during the last attack that claimed the life of her husband, there was no military presence in their community, except local vigilantes who could not face the criminals.

“We are left to our fate to defend ourselves and that’s why we are calling for the government’s commitment to end insecurity,” the widow said.

According to the mother of one of the malnourished children, Halima Musa, “we need help from the government; there is not enough food to feed our children and it’s affecting their health.

“Government should come to our aid. As I am talking to you, our children are out of school because we don’t have money to send them to school.”

When contacted on the condition of the IDPs in the state, the Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, Alh Baba Suleiman Yumu said over 42,000 IDPs were housed across the three most affected LGs of Shiroro, Munya and Rafi, even as about 75 communities were affected.

“The State Government has been doing its best in providing succor for the affected victims within available resources and will continue to do more,” he stated.

Similarly, the Public Relations Officer, PRO, Niger State Emergency Management Agency, NSEMA, Hussani Ibrahim, who spoke on behalf of the Director General, Alh Abdullahi Baba Arah expressed the commitment of the Governor Mohammed Umar Bago’s administration in according priority to the welfare and wellbeing of those in need, particularly during emergencies.

Ibrahim revealed that recently relief food items were distributed to the IDPs, adding that the agency was working round the clock to attend to their needs.

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