Addressing the challenges of IDPs

3000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Shiroro and Munya local government areas taking refuge in Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) Primary School Minna

For over a decade, Nigeria has been facing a series of terrorist attacks across the country, which have claimed the lives of thousands and displaced others from their ancestral homes. Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are a group of terrorism victims who mostly fled from places of total cruelty and threat of death.

According to a critical investigation, the IDPs, particularly North-east and North-west Nigeria, have the highest record of victims who fled from the incessant terrorism of Boko Haram and bandits that carry out numerous attacks in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, and Taraba states. Meanwhile, in the North-west, the results of the report demonstrate that Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Niger are enlisted as prey states where the terrorists are camped. But the IDPs mostly cime from Borno and Yobe states because these are the origins of Boko Haram terrorism; the North-west lately began to experience insecurity.

In Borno and Yobe states that there are serious obstacles encountered by the women and children living helplessly in unprotected surroundings and improper feeding, with excessive healthcare challenges and rape cases. These are the common challenges facing the victims in both states.

However, despite the government’s effort to relocate the victims back to their permanent abodes, the challenges of the poor place of living pose major obstacles. For instance, during rainy season, women flee from one place to another in search of good environment to live in and avoid flooding, but that mostly increases rape cases as they live with zero protection, and sometimes they could be found inside uncompleted buildings or the roadside. Rape has become rampant, destroying the lives of thousands of women by some unknown street men suspected of being ruthless gangs under the influence of drugs and ignorance. There is about 30% increase in childbirth among the women IDPs and those groups of ferocious men in the local areas inside the capital city of Borno state.

Also, children face the challenges of being raised without proper parental care, like getting enrolled in school and being trained to be of good character for social security. This happens because of the way those children lose their parents during terrorist attacks. Many people are struggling to make ends meet in this difficult situation. Healthcare challenges continue to destroy the lives of those children, as IDPs cannot access good health care, resulting in the deaths of at least 40% of children. Reports have revealed that more cases of malaria, diarrhoea and asthma continue to affect children.

However, different agencies are making handy contributions towards ensuring a prosperous life for the victims. As the cases of banditry attacks increase in the North-west, the report of the investigation has shown that a good number of IDPs, especially women, have become victims of the molestation by the bandits. Sometimes, the bandits storm the camps to abduct women and children, and it was discovered that the bandits rape women and train the children to join the illegal operations of kidnapping and killing.

It is, therefore, incumbent on those vested with the responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of the citizens to wake up and do the needful, especially the federal government of Nigeria, international community, NGOs, and our security operatives.

Ali Abba Jato,
Department of Mass Communication, Borno State University,
Maiduguri, Borno state

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