By Abdulaziz Mala Zannah, Gombe | Yerwa Express News,
Internally displaced persons from Damboa local government of Borno State who are currently taking refuge in Gombe State, have decried what they describe as ‘total neglect’ by the Borno state government.
It may be recalled that Gombe state, about 230 kilometers away from Damboa, played host to a significant number of displaced persons from Borno since 2013 when the Boko Haram insurgents were taking over territories as their base.
Similarly, Gombe served as the only ‘safe route’ to southern Borno and the only route to Adamawa and Taraba states respectively.
In this interview, YERWA EXPRESS NEWS, went to Wuro-Shi’e, a stronghold of the Borno IDPS, to find out how they are coping.
YERWA EXPRESS NEWS: Can you tell us where you came from and what brought you here?
IDPs: We are the indigenous people of Damboa, Borno State. We were great farmers and successful businessmen as well. The menace of Boko Haram insurgency has forced us out of the comfort of our homes. We are taking refuge here in Wuro Shi’e, Gombe.
YEN: What are you doing to make ends meet?
IDPs: Most of us here, have nothing to do. Had it been we have something to do, you will not meet us here under the tree. Life has been very difficult for us. Against our wish, we have turned to beggars. However, the younger ones among us have resorted to cart-pushing business while some are motorcycle riders (okada riders), and our wives have no option than to start selling gruel and beans cake at the roadside.
YEN: What of your children, are they going to school?
IDPs: They are not. Our dream is to see them in school uniforms as other children do. But this is not possible due to how life is unbearable for us. The school fees is too exorbitant for low class people like us. Nevertheless, there is one organization that shoulders this responsibility. They teach them twice a week.
YEN: Why did Gombe State government dislodge you from that rendezvouz?
IDPs: We actually don’t know the reason for that. We were dislodged without having been issued any notice. The lucky ones among us received #30,000 as palliative from the state government. This amount is too meager to rent an apartment. Our condition is very critical. If you are to make an announcement right now that you are looking for 30 displaced persons just in this area, you will get more than a thousand.
YEN: How often do you receive support from government: federal, state or NGOs?
IDPs: We only receive support from National Emergency Management Agency, and it’s not a frequent one. the state governments and NGOs have abandoned us. During the just concluded Ramadan, we heard the news that Gombe State government, was distributing food items to the people, but it didn’t reach us.
YEN: What is your call to the authorities concern?
IDPs: We are passionately appealing to the federal and state governments as well as non-governmental organizations to know that we are still exist and come to our aid. We are in dire need.