• Call For Dialogue with FG, FCTA, As ActionAid Distributes Cash To 100 Women
By Abubakar Yunus, Abuja
As Nigerians were putting finishing touches to their preparations for Christmas and the dawn of the New Year, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the Durumi Camp woke up to a harsh reality. A demolition squad from the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) had swooped on the camp on December 21 and started bringing down structures, even before the residents could have the luxury of asking what the issue is. By the time the dust settled, The Explainer gathered that all residents had been displaced from the camp, which was home to 3000 individuals from 330 households. Having nowhere to go, the displaced have turned the adjoining streets around to their temporary abode, while waiting for help.
Given the untold suffering of the IDPs, the Chairman of the Durumi IDP Camp, Ibrahim Ahmadu has been pleading with the authorities to have a dialogue with the leadership of the camp in order to address their plight. The IDP camp leader told The Explainer that the demolition caught the camp residents off guard and resulted in shock and trauma for the IDPs. He said around 70 percent of the IDPs are women, children and elderly persons. They are now all suffering from the impact of the demolition, especially the double jeopardy of being displaced for a second time.
Other residents who spoke to The Explainer lamented that the demolition was even more damaging because apart from the fact that it was unexpected, the camp was duly recognized by the government and Non-Governmental Organizations. They said various governmental and non-governmental bodies had supported the camp by building infrastructure such as the camp health facility, a primary school, a block of toilets and boreholes projects, among others. A little bit of succor has however come the way of the IDPs with the visit of the Country Director of Action Aid, Ene Obi. Action Aid has supported the 100 displaced women IDPs in the camp with cash of N10,000 each. The ActionAid helmswoman who went round the camp to observe the impact of the demolition the FCTA described it as “unfortunate”.
Her words: “If the Federal Government recognised the IDP camp, then it is pertinent to ask what changed their stance, leading to its demolition just few days before the Christmas?” Obi asked. According to Obi, the leadership of the camp, in collaboration with the different security agencies had helped to checkmate criminal activities within its vicinities.
She said her interaction with the IDPs indicated that the demolition took place without any form of notice to the IDPs or option of relocation or resettlement. “Some weeks ago, the Federal Commissioner in charge of National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs, Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, visited the camp,” she said. The Action Aid Director said there were ongoing conversations on the possible relocation of the camp, but no time had been fixed for that to happen. She explained that this was the state of affairs before the unexpected demolition of the camp. According to her, the IDPs cannot currently go back to their various homes as some of them are still under attack by the insurgents. Obi said: “Women and children are currently sleeping in open places without mats or blankets.
“Starvation and hunger is now prevailing in the camp, due to loss of their stored foodstuffs and cooking utensils, because of the unexpected demolition. Different families have to take turns in using one pot to cook. There is an urgent need for psychosocial and health support for traumatised IDPs whose belongings are now exposed to theft.”
The frontline NGO Leader stated that out of concern for the plight of the IDPs, Action Aid as an organisation, which is out to fight poverty and hunger would stand in solidarity with the traumatized IDPs.
She said: “Today, we will be providing these IDPs with food, non-food items and dignity kits. We are also appealing to donor and corporate organisations to support the IDPs to be self-sustaining through the provision of economic empowerment. We, hereby reiterate that the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and FCTA should consider as a matter of urgency the establishment of an organised camp to resettle the IDPs. They should also support them with the construction of shelter and basic infrastructure like school, health centre, toilets and water facilities.”