Considering the myriad of challenges confronting various Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at their various camps, a far distance observer would conclude that emotional appeals would be the least of their concerns.
It is no longer news that many Nigerians displaced from the comfort of their homes due to the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents are undergoing excruciating hardship at many of the camps in some parts of the country.
At many of the camps, there are severe shortages of food-stuff, acute water scarcity, poor sanitary conditions, homelessness, neglects and sometimes attacks from the radical Islamic terrorists.
However, in the midst of those teething challenges and perhaps in an attempt to cushion the effects of their sufferings, the IDP camps have continued to witness boom in marriages, endless engagement in sexual activities
and high rate of child delivery.
The situation is exactly the same at the Karajiji IDPs camp in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. Like other IDPs camps, despite the countless number of malnourished children and adults desperately in need of help and assistance, marriages have continued to be contracted and more children given birth.
Disappointment awaits those praying for change of the situation. Speaking to Daily Sun at the camp, the spokesperson of the Karamajiji IDPs camp, Abubakar Musa, defended the booming marriages, hinging it on the increasing numbers of widows and widowers, arriving the camps.
Blaming the increasing rate of marriages at the IDP camps largely on cultural factors, Musa announced: “We cannot stop it because many of the women and men arrived the IDPs camps as widows and widowers. Boko Haram killed the husbands and wives of many of the people at the IDPs camps.
“You don’t expect anybody who arrived the camps after losing his or her partner to stay along forever. We usually encourage the widows and widowers to remarry among themselves because our culture forbids their staying alone and engaging in sexual affairs without remarrying.”
Expectedly, considering the ordeal many of them experienced before and during their escape from the terrorists, it would have been practically impossible to do without sexual activities.
Narrating his escape ordeal, Musa recalled that after witnessing the killing of his three friends, some indigenes at a tea joint and the agonising taking of his younger sister with all the members of her family hostage and still in the Boko Haram captivity, he has every reason to thank God for escape.
For Musa, it was a close shave with the Boko Haram insurgents after escaping the attacks narrowly at his village, in Konduga and even in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri:
“It was really a terrible experience. When they attacked my village, we had to run for our lives. We trekked very long distance from my village to Konduga without enough supply of water or food. When we noticed that Konduga was no longer safe due to repeated attacks, we left for Maiduguri town before several other attacks finally forced us out of Maiduguri to Abuja.
“The most horrible experience and closest shave I had with Boko Haram was the day they killed three of my friends before my very eyes. Five of us were at our hiding place when a gunman opened fire on us, killing three
before the remaining two of us miraculously escaped. It was an experience I have tried everything possible to push out of my mind without much success.
“Another experience was the day my village fell to the insurgents, I had a very close friend shot dead while he was taking tea at a beverage joint. They also killed the tea vendor, forcing many others patronising the joint to scamper for safety.
“As I speak with you, my younger sister with her two children and husband are still in Boko Haram captivity from the time they were taken away after attacking our village in 2014. We cannot say with certainty whether they are still alive or dead now.”
Like other IDPs camps, the Karamajiji camp is not insulated from the innumerable challenges dwarfing the residents.
Recounting their ordeals, Musa appealed to government and spirited individuals, to come to their aids:
“Everybody knows the challenges facing every IDPs camp. There is always water scarcity, lack of foodstuffs and homelessness, among many others. However, I would rather play up the peace of mind we now have under the current government.
“Before this administration, it was difficult for us to introduce ourselves as indigenes of North East geopolitical zone because people will automatically tag us Boko Haram. But that impression has changed today. We can proudly introduce ourselves without anybody profiling us as terrorists.
“The narratives have changed and the good news is that we are even preparing to return home. We are only waiting for the completion of the homes they are rebuilding for us. However, we appeal to Nigerians to come
to the aids of the IDPs suffering at various camps.
“We have been calling home to know about the situation there. We all know that the bombing situation is not the
same like three years ago when bombs were exploding and gun attacks happening every minute and hour.
“We have been told that our village is safe but our houses Boko Haram destroyed currently undergoing reconstruction are responsible for the delay in our returning home. For instance, I am from Konduga village completely destroyed by the insurgents. I am very hopeful of our return very soon.”
According to the spokesperson, it was not a completely hopeless situation for the IDPs as the Federal Government through the Industrial Trailing Fund (ITF) and other spirited individuals have provided succour to cushion the harsh realities of lives and living at the IDPs camps:
“The problems we face at the various IDP camps are numerous. There are no water, food and essentially no job, which has been responsible for the increased pregnancy cases in the camp.
“However, fortune recently smiled on us when about 40 residents of this camp graduated from a skill acquisition programme like plumping, tiling, fashion designing, electrical maintenance among many others. A team from the ITF bankrolled the programme in collaboration with the Federal Government.
“We also want to thank the group, Buhari/Osibanjo Campaign Organisation, who remembered to visit and feed us. They brought so many food items like rice, cooking oil, noodles and many more too numerous to mention.”
National chairman, APC Support Groups in Nigeria, Nonso Ezedimma, told Daily Sun that the group earmarked N5 million to put smiles on their faces in commemoration of President Buhari’s birthday:
“We deliberately opted for the IDPs camps in commemoration of President Buhari’s birthday. We came to celebrate with them because Buhari is a man of the people and in touch with the masses especially the less privileged.
“We deemed it necessary to come and represent him here to mark his birthday. We provided relieve materials ranging from food items, clothing materials, toiletries among other things. The items we presented are estimated at the region of N5 million.
“However, the good thing is that it is not going to be a one-off visit hence our resolve to replicate the gesture in many states like Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue and Niger.”
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