Over 15,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State have appealed to the state government to come to their aid and deploy adequate security personnel to their respective communities to return to their ancestral home to start farming activities.
The displaced persons who are mostly farmers from over seven villages of Kwari, Zango, Shimfida, Tsauni, Far Faru, Tsambe and Gurbin Magariya, invaded by gunmen to be bandits.
Scores of them, mostly children, took refuge in Government Girls Secondary School, Jibia Local Government, with over 22 persons reportedly dying from hypertension, starvation and non-availability of medical services in the camps.
When visiting the camp in Jibia LGA, where scores of IDPs, mostly women and children, were lodged, it was observed that they were in dire need of food evidenced by the swift manner in which some of the children aged between four and seven years, begged on the streets for assistance.
The Chairman of the Camp, Sa’ad Salisu, expressed worries over the absence of security personnel around the camps, stating that they have been taking refuge at the primary school early this year following a surge of attacks on their communities by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen.
He added that over 3,000 children who are currently in the camp could not have access to learning facilities following the inability of the state government to provide a makeshift school in the camp.
“From the Shinfida community alone, we have 8,000 displaced persons that are in this camp. In Far Faru, we have over 7,000 and about 200 are from the Zango community but not all of us are sleeping here because of a lack of mattresses, water, mats and mosquito nets.
“We have over 3,000 children in this camp who left their communities with school uniforms but now they cannot go to school because the government hasn’t provided a school for them in the camp.
“Fifteen people, mostly women, died when we were camping at the Central Primary School, Jibia, as a result of hypertension. Eight children died while fleeing Shinfida to Jibia town in March this year. Also, 35 women gave birth in the camp”, he said
Rukkaya Abubakar, is one of the displaced victims from the Kwari village, camping at the Government Girls Secondary School, Jibia. She said her husband and other seven members of their family including a three-month-old baby were kidnapped by the bandits during the attack that forced her out of the community.
“ They took about eight people in our family, including a three-month-old baby who was abducted.
“We are urging the government to assist us in bringing my husband and other members of the family”
Aisha Lawal, also said she was tired of life-giving to the situation she and other people in the neighbourhood, their children are no longer going to school, they can’t go to the farm or even engage in any small business that would help her life
She, therefore, called on the government to enrol their children in any public school instead of allowing them to move around the streets of the town begging or engaging in illicit activities detrimental to their lives.
While narrating how she narrowly escaped from Shifinda town the day bandits invaded their community, Mrs Lawal said the hoodlums killed and went away with a lot of people to the bush, burnt their houses and abducted all their animals.
“We ran out of the village without shoes, only one pear of cloth to this day. I don’t even know the whereabouts of my children as I’m talking to you. whether death or alive, I don’t know. We are only hoping on God to assist in this situation”, she said
Shaibu Kwari, who said he is tired of the activities of the bandits in the area, urged both federal and state governments to severely deal with the hoodlums for them to return to their farms to have what they can eat next year.
Also, the chairman, Jibia Local Government Area, Hon. Bishir Sabi’u, said the state government has been providing some relief materials to the IDPs, though not sufficient because of the large number of persons in the camp.
He explained that in every five days the council usually provides the sum of N200,000 to feed the displaced persons in the camp, adding that the task is so enormous for the local government to handle.
The chairman further blamed the Army for withdrawing soldiers in the Shinfida town which gave room for the bandits to attack the community, stressing that over 150 people were still in bondage to the bandits demanding ransom from the council.
He further lamented that the bandits are carrying out attacks on several communities on a daily basis, having sleepless nights every day as a result of the consistent attacks and reports of killing in the area.
Sabi’u then thanked the state Governor Aminu Bello Masari for releasing funds to provide food and other relief materials for the IDPs, adding that soon the government would come up with additional measures for the children to start school.