Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe
Life as an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) could be tasking, painful and regretful. In Gombe State, it is indeed horrible!
Unlike in other parts of the North with similar challenges, displaced persons in the state are rarely the focus of media attention and very often therefore, their plights are left largely unreported and entirely unattended to.
Daily Sun gathered that many people are unsettled for various reasons, but largely on account of the security situation that has robbed them of peace of minds and stolen away their traditional means of livelihood.
The consequence is a landscape of people, who have no homes, no shelters and no means of livelihood to cater for their own survival and those of their family members.
Yakubu Askira is one of the leaders of the displaced persons in the state. He listed a number of challenges and obstacles bedeviling them: “The issue of house rent is one which virtually affects all of us.
“We are always begging our landlords to give us time to pay our rents; yet we still can’t afford to pay even after extensions have been granted to us. Even feeding our families has become a big issue for us. Most of our people presently live in uncompleted buildings or structures that are about to collapse. They simply cannot afford to pay for rent any more”
He acknowledged that farming was their main source of livelihood in the past, but regretted that many of them could not be able to undertake this year’s farming due to lack of funds to buy the input: “We don’t have fertilizers as well as seeds and the means of preparing the land.
“Last year, we were provided with fertilizers and other inputs by FADAMA II Project, which enabled us to farm. But this year, we have not seen signs of such aid.”
Ahmed Bularafa, an IDP from Kulani Local Government Area, explained: “Most of our people now count on local rice refining sites to get what to eat. We rush to these places as early as possible to sweep the floor and extract rice from the dirt to take home.”
According to information obtained from the office of Gombe State Emergency Management Agency (GSEMA), about 37, 284 IDPs living in all the 11 local government areas are currently facing severe difficulties returning to their previous lives. GSEMA’s Relief and Rehabilitation Officer (RRO), Muhammed Garba, acknowledged the pathetic conditions of the displaced persons while speaking during an intervention programme organised by National Commission for Refugees, Migrants (NCRM) and IDPs:
“The agency is still in field trying to get a full list of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) living in Gombe State. Some of the affected persons were reluctant to be profiled as IDPs on the grounds that those that have been so identified are yet to get any meaningful help from any quarters.
“Three block molding machines were allocated to the IDPs in Akko, Gombe and Yamaltu/Deba LGAs, because of the high number of IDPs in those areas. Nigerians should step in and support the displaced persons. Nigerians must be their brothers’ keepers as government alone cannot bear the entire costs of supporting all its citizens.”
Presetting the items to the beneficiaries, the Deputy Director, Account of the Commission Malam Abba Abdulrahaman, said: “The tools provided are to assist the beneficiaries in the exercise of their day-to-day activities. The tools are provided to bring succour to beneficiaries who are less privileged persons in the society.
“The molding machines that will distributed to the association of the IDP in three most populated local government areas will benefit many of them in terms of building houses and assisting their communities. The beneficiaries should make judicious use of the items given to them and should not sell any.”
The state IDPs Women leader, Hajiya Abu Danjuma, said about 126 women would benefit from the grinding machines while 45 others would get the water pumping machines for dry season farming.