As Nigerians answer the clarion call on the misery of the internationally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country, so many governmental and non-governmental organisations, including national and international donour groups come together to render their help in restoring the IDPs. The peril of the refugees, according to reports, needs to be reflected upon and more importantly take action on the desolation of the growing numbers of our citizens, who have been forced to migrate and become either refugees in neighbouring countries or internally displaced persons (IDPs) within the country.
Few weeks ago, the Prime Minister of Niger, Brigi Rafini also visited Diffa province in his country, which shares a border with Borno State to see for himself the problems posed by Nigerian refugees. His conclusion was categorical; Niger cannot cope with the numbers of Nigerians crossing the border. The humanitarian crisis was beyond their means. He explained that after one attack by Boko Haram, 17,000 refugees turned up at Gagamari village, 20 km away from Diffa, within one week multiplying the population of the village by five. As the people of Niger are themselves very poor, they simply do not have the capacity to cater for them although they are doing the best that they can. The estimate of monthly expenditure necessary to take care of Nigerian refugees in Diffa alone is 17 billion CFA. The Government of Niger simply does not have the resources to cope he explained. There are currently over 100,000 Nigerian refugees in Niger alone. The numbers in Cameroon and Chad are also growing.
As against this background, Kaduna State government, through the Special Assistant to Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai on Creative Arts, Hajiya Halima Idris, organises series of vocational skill centres for the IDPs in the state. Describing the situation, Hajiya Idris has said the IDPs resulting from the Boko Haram insurgency is a clear display of all the hallmarks of the highest category crises.
Halima, who spoke after a visit to 270 IDPs currently taking shelter in Barakallahu, a suburb of Kaduna metropolis when she led members of the Arewa Creative Industry to donate assorted items, has convincingly extended Kaduna State government’s efforts in eradicating crime and social vices. The state government, according to her, has stepped up its rehabilitation programme which is not only limited to the IDPs, but for all those in need of rehabilitation.
“We have decided to come for ourselves to check what is happening. We want everybody to be self-employed so that subsequently they would be providing for themselves and others,” Hajiya Idris who is also the founder of the Arewa Creative Industry said.
She noted that the civilians, including children, leaving newly liberated areas, bear the signs of advanced malnutrition, and of deep trauma, having been caught in a conflict that has cost them their homes, their livelihoods and often their family members.
She said that the IDPs created by the Boko Haram insurgency were not only a problem for the North-East, but for the entire country. She therefore calls on the Nigerian government and the international community to take urgent humanitarian measures to save lives and ensure the protection of the multitude of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the country.
In addition, Hajiya Halima Abdullahi, popularly known as Uwar Marayu also noted that Nigeria currently has over four million IDPs who have been forced to leave their communities and homes due to violent conflicts. “It is quite disheartening that Nigeria is currently having millions of IDPs making the country the third worst countries in the world ranking of IDP numbers. Worldwide, the number of IDPs according to International Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) in 2013 stood at 33.3 million people. Their spatial distribution shows that 63 per cent of IDPs are located in only five countries affected by conflict – Syria (6.5 million), Colombia (5.7 million), Nigeria, (3.3 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo (2.7 million) and Sudan (2.4 million).
“Because these figures change in response to the conflict situation within countries, the caseload and therefore the ranking of the countries also change over time. The number of IDPs in Nigeria has grown considerably since the 2013 estimates and is today over four million,” noted Uwar Marayu.
Hajiya Halima conveyed Governor el-Rufai’s pledge to continue supporting the IDPs in the state as measures to curb the danger of compatriots becoming totally dependent of others for help. She said the state government is worried about the hardship and the trauma the IDPs are going through and urge them to be confident and support the initiative for a sustainable development.
As part of the activities of the august visit to the camp, top Kannywood actress, Nafisah Abdullahi, as well as other top creative Hausa Hip-hop artistes; Sadiya Yarima, Khalid and Bangis thrilled the IDPs with their performances.