By: Valentine Adese and Alfred Saiki,
The aim for establishing camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), owing to the crises and attacks that have rocked Plateau State, now and in the immediate past, which had claimed several lives and properties, seem to have been dashed with IDPs sinking into more problems and sufferings within the camps.
Following an independent investigation carried out by REALITY in IDP camps in Barkin-ladi, Riyom, Jos-South and Bassa Local Government Areas (LGAs), there are verifiable indications that the IDPs have further been surcharged by International Donors, who have continued to claim to represent the interests of these Displaced Persons in these camps without remitting the donations.
Findings from the investigation, strongly indicates that the International Donors, who may have presented to the whole world through their various Organization’s Social Media Portals that they have successfully executed their mandate with respect to the IDP needs, may have been running what could best be described as “foul activities”, as most of their claimed achievements may have ended their journeys in Social Media Platforms, as there is nothing on ground at the camps in the four LGAs to indicate their presence or contributions to better the lives of the IDPs.
A case for easy of reference is the recent donation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, to the IDPs, which has gone academic, with lots of side stories.
It is worth noting that IDP camps are stretched in Plateau State, across four Local Government Areas, which includes, Barki-ladi, Riyom (Riyom Town Hall and Tahoss). In Jos South (at Geo-science by Anguldi), then Bassa.
Although most of the IDPs that REALITY spoke to showed gratitude to the roles the Red-Cross has continued to play in the various camps, they also took time to identify the Organization’s (Red-Cross) contributions in most of the camps, while allegedly questioning the issue of the International Donors.
According to them and the related findings, “The alleged International Donors and their donations are yet to arrive the camps not to talk of reaching the victims (IDPs).
One of the Coordinators in one of the camps, Jumai Davou, told REALITY that, “We have problem of fire wood, water, soup ingredients, and mattresses are not enough because of what happened last week; many people are still trooping into the camp. So we have shortages of all these.
In Hausa Language, one of the IDPs while expressing her worries and that of others said, “Our challenges include illnesses likes malaria, typhoid and catarrh because of the cold. We are having water problems, water was supplied to us just once, and we have to go to the stream to get water.
While sadly speaking and calling on the world to come to their aid, one of the knowledgeable IDP in one of the camps said, “We need fire wood, we also need condiments, we need to balance up the diet of these children. People here are basically eating starch, so we are afraid of any outbreak of diseases like kwashiorkor. There is need to upgrade the quality of food we all eat, especially the children and the aged.
“We have people that are diabetic, but because there is no special provision for them, they have to eat everything which will also hamper their health.
“We have people that are hypertensive and they eat what others eat because we can’t make special provision for them. In fact we have HIV patients, who also need to eat very good food, yet there is no arrangement for that.
“So we want to appeal to Government to also look into that.”
According to him, “The mattresses are also not enough, it didn’t go round. Some are using mattresses, while others are using mats. Government brought 100 pieces the last time for about 2000 people. Some of these women have up to 10 children, so I wonder how a 6 spring mattress will carry up to 10 people with their mother, especially knowing that most of these women are widows.
On behalf of the IDPs, some of the Coordinators, who spoke to REALITY in the course of this investigation, in their individual appeals to Government, the International Community and concerned Citizens said, “So we want to appeal too, if they can bring more mattresses for it to go round. In fact, we have even encouraged some of these people who can afford to pay rent outside to do so, just to decongest the camp. Here they need assistance. We have people that have gotten places to stay outside, but they still come to the camp to eat because they can’t afford to eat outside.
“You can imagine people who eat a bag of beans and two bags of rice a day, even if government should come with 100 bags, how long will that last? That’s to tell you that we just have little supply of these, in no distant time, it will finish. So we expect them to over time design something so that after a period of 3 to 4 weeks they come to give, because we eat everyday and the food is going down. We appeal for people to help to replenish what is taken out of the stock.
“You can also see the facility, people need light for a lot of things and of course the bills too are there, who is to pay the bills? That is also a challenge, because at a point, NESCO was also threatening to disconnect the line, I don’t know if something has been done about it. They should find a way to pay the bills for the camps because, they (IDPs) need the light, as you can see we have reptiles around and anything can happen.
“We also need drugs, considering that it is the raining season; there could be malaria outbreak so we need anti- malaria drugs. If they can also send people from time to time to disinfect the place and insecticides just to reduce the mosquitoes around, this will help a lot.
One of the worse scenarios that REALITY investigating team encountered is the lack of provision for the women, new mothers and their children in the camps.
Explaining the situation in detail to the investigating crew, one Da. Joseph Gyang Pam, a Ward Head in Barkin Ladi camp said, “We have pregnant women that have nobody to support them to access healthcare or going to hospital. Those about to give birth don’t even know what to do or how they would manage to buy materials needed for the delivery. Those who want to go for maternal checkup don’t also know how they would do it. They need money and other things. If government can come to their plight and aid, I think it will go a long way in solving this problem.”
On her part while explaining the healthcare problems been faced in the camp, one Elizabeth Alamba, told REALITY Investigating crew that, “Truthfully they don’t have anybody that will pay for their health care here. Some of them will not even go because they will tell you they don’t have the money. Sometimes when they bring food, there will not be fire wood, we sometimes have to borrow money from amongst ourselves to buy fire wood, so that, they can cook and eat and some for their health care because nobody is providing money for them to attend the clinic. Those with relatives, run to them for help.
Adding her voice one Elizabeth Pam, alluded that, “We are here with pregnant women. Giving birth now is a challenge and confusion, but if we can get help, it will be good. We have women, who are heavily pregnant and we expect them to give birth this month. Unfortunately they don’t go for anti natal because feeding is even a challenge for them.”
Attempt by the investigating crew to establish the claims of the IDPs that most International Donors only come to the camps to take stock of the members in the camps for reason(s) best known to the organizations and that the protests in the camps by some youths over the poor state of the camps was necessary, the crew reached out to the Red-Cross, the Salvation Army, the Voice of Martyr (VOM), Stefanos Foundation.
A crosscheck at Voice of Martyr (VOM), the crew had a first stumbling block as the management claimed the director was not on sit and they have no permission to disclose any information.
In an interaction on phone with a staff of VOM, Kauna, the admin secretary, she said, “The Director is not in town, he would be back sometime in October.’
When probed to know whether her organization had provided nets and mattresses to the IDP camps as claimed on their website, she stressed that, they are partners with VOM and that the Director would be back in October and that she has no permission to divulge any information as they deal with people confidentially and not publicly.
However, for the records, in a newsletter published on its website, The Voice of the Martyrs noted, while soliciting for international donors’ response noted that;
“Over two days in June, 500 radical Islamist fighters from amongst the Fulani tribe in Nigeria attacked Christian homes and villages in Barkin Ladi, Jos South just outside the city of Jos in the middle Belt of Nigeria.
“When the attacks ended, hundreds of Christians were dead and as many as 12,000 were displaced from their homes.
“The Voice of Martyr’s staff in Nigeria responded immediately in the hours after the attacks, VOM provided medical care for 42 of those injured. Additional funding is used to provide further medical care to injured Christians as well as food, sleeping mats and mosquito nets for Christians forced to flee their homes”.
TO BE CONTINUED…..