Daily Trust

Maiduguri dis­placed youths yearn to re­turn home

- From Mis­bahu Bashir, Maiduguri Hunger · Nigeria News · Society · Social Issues · Maiduguri · Central Bank of Nigeria · Nigeria · United Nations · Abuja · National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)

Dis­placed young­sters con­sti­tuted a great pro­por­tion of the in­hab­i­tants forced to leave their home­towns by in­sur­gents in Borno State.

Most of the youths who live ei­ther alone or with their par­ents in tem­po­rary set­tle­ments, oth­er­wise called In­ter­nally Dis­placed Per­sons (IDPs) camps, had their ed­u­ca­tion se­verely trun­cated be­cause of lack of ac­cess; ma­jor­ity of them had lacked teach­ers who could keep track of their ed­u­ca­tional needs.

Gov­ern­ments, in­ter­est groups and donor agen­cies were said to have in­vested sig­nif­i­cantly in the con­tin­ued ed­u­ca­tion of dis­placed kids, yet, many were out of school.

Seven-year-old Ah­mad was among the hun­dreds of chil­dren

Muna Camp in Maiduguri who poured out on Monday to wit­ness a ver­i­fi­ca­tion ex­er­cise for se­lect dis­placed per­sons by the of­fi­cials of the Na­tional Com­mis­sion for Refugees, Mi­grants and In­ter­nally Dis­placed Per­sons and the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria at Muna IDP camp in Maiduguri. Those se­lected would later learn vo­ca­tional skills and re­ceive tools to build their own busi­nesses.

Lit­tle Ah­mad who played with his peers ap­peared to have been raised in an un­pleas­ant fam­ily mi­lieu be­cause he suf­fered from poor hy­giene and said he had been wear­ing same clothes for days. He said he was not en­rolled at pri­mary school, in­stead, at­tended a Qur’anic school at the camp. Two of his friends who claimed to have at­tended lessons at a nearby school said they were yearn­ing for their home­towns.

Haruna Saleh, 21, said his fam­ily mem­bers were dis­placed from Goniri in Dikwa “five years ago,” and fled to other places be­fore they ar­rived at Muna camp, Maiduguri.

Although, fed­eral emer­gency au­thor­i­ties dis­trib­uted ra­tions to dis­placed house­holds slightly above the UN stan­dards monthly, Saleh said his fam­ily was frus­trated by the lack of enough food.

He said, “I work as agri­cul­tural la­borer to earn money while many other dis­placed youths are petty traders.”

Ac­cord­ing to him, dis­placed per­sons also faced poor hy­giene and san­i­ta­tion prob­lems apart from lack of good shel­ter and poor nutri­tion, par­tic­u­larly when the lo­ca­tion was flooded with rain wa­ters.

“I want to re­turn to my com­mu­nity be­cause here, I am forced to en­dure poor con­di­tions,” he said.

Saleh also said au­thor­i­ties have taken a head­count of the dis­placed per­sons with a view to re­turn­ing them to their orig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties.

“But we were told that we shall be re­set­tled in Dikwa at the first stage be­fore we re­turn to our home­towns,” he said.

The unattrac­tive con­di­tion of the peo­ple in the pover­tys­tricken camp was fur­ther wors­ened by so­cial vices par­tic­u­larly il­licit drug ad­dic­tion. Youths were seen in one makeshift camp smok­ing cannabis openly.

“Peo­ple blaze openly be­cause there are no tough law­men will­ing to crack­down on it,” a passer-by said.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, the chair­man of dis­placed per­sons in Maiduguri, Ibrahim Us­man, has pleaded with the fed­eral au­thor­i­ties to in­crease the monthly feed ra­tions due to daily in­flux of dis­placed peo­ple.

“Peo­ple are flee­ing their com­mu­ni­ties due to the fear of at­tacks while those who sought refuge in other states are re­turn­ing to Maiduguri. In the in­ter­ven­ing time, only the reg­is­tered IDPs are given food and non-food items,” he said.

He said monthly food dis­tri­bu­tion had been steady in the last cou­ple of months.

When con­tacted, Borno State Head, Food Dis­tri­bu­tion Team, Na­tional Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (NEMA), Flight Lieu­tenant Sani Umar, said com­plaints on the ar­rival of new IDPs were sent to the agency’s head­quar­ters in Abuja which would re­quest a ver­i­fi­ca­tion ex­er­cise to be car­ried out to as­cer­tain the iden­ti­ties of peo­ple be­fore their feed ra­tions are sup­plied.

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