Since Boko Haram insurgency became blustery, communities in the Northeast have repeatedly experienced loss of lives, livelihood and homes.
For all that, in what appears to be a swift move to cater for these citizens the government introduced Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camps in what is supposed to be a temporary safe haven for feeding and housing. As a result of this move, donations flooded in from individuals and organizations, both locally and internationally.
However, unusual prevailing accounts from the camps are unmasking realities that this system has disturbing downsides.
Recently, report of severely malnourished IDPs at immediate risk of death in Borno State camps was released to the media by Doctors Without Borders.
In their report, the international humanitarian-aid and non-governmental organization stated that “Since May 23, at least 188 people have died in the camp—almost six people per day—mainly from diarrhea and malnutrition.”
There were also unconfirmed reports that trucks filled with rice supposedly meant for Adamawa state IDP camps have been diverted.
These are disturbing patterns in the Northeastern communities and have since stirred strong local and international reaction.
At a time when our people need sympathy and support one is forced to ask: Where is the place of empathy and true fear of God we often learn from our religious houses? Did all our leaders not swear by the Bible and Quran to be fair and honest in their discharge duties?
Well, that is a topic for another day.
In my opinion, a porous system and lack of positive values are some of the many maladies eroding the ethical base of socio-economic development in our society.
For a second, let’s consider this fact: As at today, no official or comprehensive national data, or policy framework exists on IDPs in the country.
Be that as it may, two things are clear though: These acts are the product of an unholy coterie of people trusted with the resources and such people are deep into venal ways such as stealing from the IDPs’ aid system to take care of their pervasive needs.
Without doubt, many feel justified in concluding that the undertaking of handling donations from individuals and organizations by those entrusted with the task of running the IDP scheme is on a steep trajectory for failure.
The inability of just ousted government to curtail Boko Haram carnage, among many reasons, paved way for the new order with the change mantra. Likewise, it is on record that people in the IDP camps stood in lines in the midst of lack and pain to vote in the government of the day.
Without a doubt, the government is making extensive efforts in tackling corruption and steady military progress against Boko Haram insurgents. Nonetheless, taking care of these people, amongst others, should be a priority. Security concerns, inadequate access to basic services and dolorous state of livelihood, and of recent, malnutrition is constantly plaguing these people.
In all seriousness, it will be inappropriate for the administration at state and federal level to remain tongue-tied while brigands with moral turpitude grow fat on largesse from IDPs.
Moreover, the public is offended by these acts of apathy and the society is now growing intolerant of cover up. Therefore, to avoid losing the trust of the people a broad approach is needed to ideate ways on how to demystify this conundrum of rumored diversion, malnutrition and deaths.
As a deduction, the government should rethink the long-standing practices of sweeping news of such inhuman acts under the carpet considering social media has since taken its place as alternative to mainstream media exposing corrupt acts with audio visual confirmation.
Finally, it is important to emphasize that it takes high moral rectitude to exercise the moral strength required to serve. Dutiful people of integrity with broad outlook for common good above their narrow group interests should be sorted and empowered and monitored. The status quo is not acceptable. The system designed to aid IDPs should not leave them out of the scheme.
Author, Inspirational Speaker, Blogger and IT Consultant.
Laurel, Maryland, U.S.A