Gyang Bere, Jos
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) everywhere, are an unhappy set of people. They are sad because they were sacked from their villages and are quartered in less comfortable camps away from the luxury of their homes.
The displaced persons, forced out of Geo-Sciences Hall, Anguldi, Plateau State, where they were camped following the invasion of their villages in 2018, certainly shared the same unhappy mind-set like their compatriots in other IDPs camps. But as fate would have it, their tragedy has become a reason to rejoice. How?
On Wednesday, December 18, 2019, they were pressurised to quit their camp and return to their respective villages by the management of the hall. On arrival, they were dumped in primary schools in their respective villages as they had no roof of the own or a shelter to house their belongings.
They were, in fact, encouraged to wait for the intervention of the state government who was expected to reconstruct their homes and villages in Gashish District of Barkin-Ladi Local Government, sacked in June 2018 in the wake of its invasion by some Fulani herdsmen.
At their temporary abode at these public primary schools, life has become harsher than it was in their camp. There were fewer hands to help them out with food items just as there were greater challenges to cope with. The children, the women and the aged were the most vulnerable as they were bitten by the cold and the other elements of the sky.
Help eventually came their way on Monday, December 23, 2019, when the Hungarian Government in collaboration with the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) donated some building materials to assist them to pick up their lives. The materials included zinc roofing sheets, cements, nails and fertilizers meant to help them re-construct their burnt homes and resume their normal lives.
Director of Disaster and Emergency Persons on Hungarian Government’s Aid for the Persecuted Church, Dr Nantok Dami, explained that the Hungarian Government presented 2,700 bags of cement, 1,710 bags of fertilizer, 1,900 bundles of zinc and 1,425 packets of zinc nails for the affected people in Gashis and Ropp in Barkin-Ladi LG Plateau and Goza community in Borno State. These items were divided into two, a half to Gashish and Ropp communities in Plateau State, the other half for the people of Goza community who also suffered sustained attacks as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency.
For the victims in Plateau, the items were divided to the 600 affected families in Ropp and Gashish. Each household went home with three bundles of zinc, three bags of fertilizer, four bags of cement and two packets of nail. The materials would facilitate the IDPs to reconstruct their burnt houses while the fertilizers would help them return to their farms.
President, (COCIN), Rev. Dachollom Datiri, urged federal and state governments to provide adequate security for the safe return of the IDPs to the affected communities: “You must take advantage of the relief materials provided to you to go and start rebuilding your burnt houses. You must not abandon your villages to strangers, who fight to forcefully take over your land.
“These materials are provided by Hungarian Government for people who were affected by the crisis in Gashish District of Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area in June 2018 and people of Goza in Borno State for their proper relocation and rehabilitation.
“We were demoralised by the crisis in this part of Plateau State in June 2018. We almost lost hope because when we saw you people languishing in the IDPs camps, with no hope, it was very pathetic. We made contacts with the Hungarian Government to help us rebuild the burnt homes and reclaim their lost villages.”
Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dan Manjang, said government would continue to work with all religious bodies in the rehabilitation of the IDPs. He tasked the beneficiaries to use their relief materials for the purpose they were meant for and never to contemplate selling them.
Gyang Machip, a victim of the attack by herdsmen, described the gift as thing of great joy. Machip lost four members of his family to the invasion. He came to the camp on June 23, 2018: “I am very happy over the materials presented to us by Hungarian Government in collaboration with COCIN. I will begin to rebuild of my house immediately, and the fertilizer will enable me go to farm.
“I am calling on Government to provide us with adequate security so that we can return and reclaim our land. There are indications that the Fulani invaders have started building on our lands, Government should reclaim those lands and provide a strong security for us.”
Dinatu Mabas from Ngar village also shared the same feeling. She lost three members of her family while her house was destroyed in the attack. She was excited to receive the gifts and eager to rebuild her house immediately.
Victoria Joseph described the materials as God-sent as she had submitted her self to despair and hopelessness in the light of her predicaments. Other beneficiaries equally pledged to return to the burnt communities to reconstruct their houses.