700 IDPs In Abuja Camp Protest Neglect By FG

IDPsOver 700 Internally Displaced Persons in New Kuchingoro, Abuja, camp have kicked against their alleged neglect by the Federal Government, lamenting that they now rely on charity from churches and individuals to survive.

Most of the camp residents were displaced from Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State in January 2014, when the town was overrun by members of the Boko Haram sect.

Spokesperson for the IDPs, Mr Philemon Emmanuel, an indigene of Gwoza, made the allegation during a donation of seven cows, over 200 bags of rice, grains and unspecified bags of clothes to them on Thursday by the President of Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.

Oritsejafor was represented by the Chairman of CAN in the Federal Capital Territory, Rev. Israel Akanji.

Mr. Emmanuel revealed that since they had been in the camp over a year ago, officials of National Emergency Management Agency visited them only once in October 2014, to register their names and also gave them some food.

He claimed that the NEMA officials promised the IDPs that they would get a special camp so that the affected persons could live a normal life pending when the security challenges in their homes of origin would get back to normal.

He said, “We are still waiting for the government till today. We have been surviving on charity, because some good people, churches and individual organisations come here to help us on daily basis, with food items, clothes and some other things, while some churches bring some health personnel to take care of our health situation.

“The government has not done what they promised us, we have been living on charity. We are over 700 people here, including men, women and children. We want the Federal Government to take us to the place they promised us, because we are not supposed to be living in these kind of houses.

“We never believed that we will ever be living in this kind of houses. There is nothing like water here; we depend on stream water to survive. They promised us that they will take us to a better place with water, electricity, health centre and other basic amenities, we are yet to see anything”.

In his response, the FCT CAN Chairman promised that he would take the case of the displaced persons to the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, saying the FCT Administration was working hard on having a better place for the IDPs.

He said, “In order to get this done, he (FCT Minister) widen the committee by including all stakeholders. A vast land has been acquired, design has been done and it is being built. Probably in a month’s time, it would be completed, because, the FCT government has been committed to it.

“They do not want to take people to where there is no water, light and other basic amenities. Although, not a permanent place, because we are not praying that they should remain permanently as IDPs; that everyone should be reintegrated back to his communities when the time is right.

“But the way things are presently, is that most of them cannot go to their communities because their homes have been destroyed. All we can do now is to plead with the Federal Government to assist in reconstructing these communities that have been pulled down, so that the people can return to their communities”.

On the upcoming general elections, the Director of National Issues and Social Welfare in CAN, Mr. Sunday Oibe, said it would only be said to be free and fair if the IDPs from the North-East are allowed to vote.