Nigerian Government, Terror Fight And The Fate Of Internally Displace Persons, By Malam Isah Abbas Ahmed

The picture above is of empty pots in an open kitchen at Bakassi camp where food has not been cooked for IDPs for days

By Malam Isah Abbas Ahmed,

It will be totally unfair not to acknowledge efforts put by Buhari Administration in getting to the present state of security in North East and the country at large. It is commendable the way Boko Haram menace is contained and brought down to the barest minimum. Prior to this time, a lot of towns and villages were captured by Boko Haram Sect where the original settlers of those towns became internally displaced.

Another effort of the government that can never be left unsung is managing Internally Displaced Peoples’ (IDP) Camps. Even though there were numerous challenges, this government was and is still determined to better lives of those IDPs with the help of both local and international donor agencies and/or Nnon-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

On the other hand, the government have been making claims that the dreaded Boko Haram Sect had been ‘technically’ defeated. Nigeria’s Army Chief on 21st November 2016 confirmed this and the Information and Culture Minister have severally attested to that. In the light of this, it was reported that all towns captured by Boko Haram have been recaptured by and is under the control of Nigerian Security Forces in the North East. These were news that pleased majority of Nigerians.

What baffles me most, after recording all these successes, is the fate of those IDPs. It is crystal clear that the IDPs are predominantly farmers, fishers, public & private servants and many traders who do not depend on others. If truly Boko Haram is defeated and all towns are recaptured then why still keeping these IDPs in various camps? In most common sense, resettling these people will be more economical to the government and subsequently bring back normalcy in the towns and villages.

As it is now, food is no longer priority to IDPs as they receive in abundance from government and several donor agencies/NGOs. What these people require is simple resettlement into their territory. This will bring opportunities for them to return back to their normal lives.

To further buttress the point above and justify that these people can be resettled back to their towns, on Sunday 14th May 2017, Adamawa State Government relocated over 300 IDPs from NYSC camp where they lived for 3 years. The reason of their relocation is to accommodate corps members posted to Adamawa State for orientation camping. These IDPs, according to Executive Secretary Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency, will be going back to the host communities or their liberated hometowns while others will be relocated to Malkohi camp in Yola South Local Government Area, Channels TV reported.

Finally, many people concluded that there may be numerous conspiracies that the State Governments, Security Agencies and State Emergency Management Agencies of the affected North East States may not want the IDPs resettled for reasons best known to them. Whatever it is, our appeal to Federal Government is to try resettling these IDPs starting with the most secured towns as the camps they occupy is not and will never be their best choice.