The Victims Support Fund (VSF), an NGO, on Monday lamented the appalling conditions of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Niger State.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Shiroro, Niger State, on Monday, its Executive Director, Prof. Nana Tanko, lamented that “with all the humanitarian agencies, development partners in Nigeria there is none that is supporting the IDPs.
“The only support they had gotten is from the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs as well as the National Refugees Commission,” she said.
Tanko also expressed sadness that “regular agencies that should be working with government agencies to render help to IDPs are not doing their jobs.’’
She lamented also that many children in Niger State could no longer access education as their schools had been converted to IDP camps.
She noted that children in the IDP camps were also losing out as they could no longer go to school, adding that there was a general and urgent need to improve on the living standards of the camps inmates.
Prof. Tanko, who was on an on-the-spot-assessment of some of the IDP camps, noted that since government alone could not cater to the needs of the inmates, there was the need for additional assistance.
“Interactions with some of the IDPs revealed that Boko Haram insurgents are in Niger State where they have hoisted their flags in communities after wreaking havoc.
“Those in the camps are staying there with a lot of constraints because from what we have seen here the state government alone cannot help them.
“The IDPs are sharing spaces with their various host communities, inconveniencing them and disrupting academic activities.
“There, children cannot access formal education because of the situation; we have crisis on our hands.
“Something has to be done urgently to remedy the situation,” she said.
Tanko said that the challenges of accommodation for academic activities and the IDPs in camps should be addressed.
“We really have to intervene quickly in the area of education by supporting them with writing materials, uniforms, books and sandals,” she added.
She said VSF would provide food and other means of livelihood for the IDPs because there were many children in the camps.
She said that there was also the need to provide clinics in the camps to improve the poor sanitary condition of the IDPs.
Tanko said that the VSF was in the state at the instance of its chairman, Retired Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, on the appeal of the state government for help.
In his remarks, Malam Ahmed Inga, Director-General, Niger State Emergency Management Agency, said that there were about 20 IDP camps in the state.
Inga could not ascertain the number of IDPs in the state because of incessant attacks by bandits and insurgents.
He said that the 5,000 IDPs in Kwada Camp in Shiroro Local Government Area were from Kawuri where Boko Haram wreaked havoc recently and hoisted their flags.
“We are not in a hurry to send them back until the security situation in their areas improved because their lives are important,” he said.
He said the IDPs had been in the camp for two years and appealed to NGOs and individuals to partner with the state government to cater to their needs and to the needs of IDPs in other camps because government could not do it alone.
Mr Habibu Musa, Desk Officer, at the IDP Camp in Kwada, said that the 5,000 IDPs there were from more than 10 communities in Shiroro.
Rev. John Samari, one of the IDPs in Kwada, told NAN that there was the challenge of inadequate food, accommodation, and medicines among others in the camp.
Samari appealed to the federal and state governments to end insecurity to enable the displaced people to return home and live a normal live.
Also, Mr Yusuf Kuta, Desk Officer, at another IDP camp in Kuta area of Shiroro, said that there were 90 men, 884 women and 2,510 children in the camp. (NAN)