#Day1000 of #ChibokGirls’ abduction Global Week of Action
Day 2: #ChibokGirls as internally displaced persons (IDPs)
9 January 2017
Today is the second day of our Global Week of Action to mark #Day1000 of the abduction of our Chibok girls in their school on 14 April 2014. Today is Day 1,001 of their abduction.
Our Chibok girls are themselves IDPs wherever they may be. The condition of IDPs in the Nigeria is a humanitarian tragedy of immense proportion as confirmed by several agencies. For instance, a UN expert on internally displaced persons (IDPs), Chaloka Beyani, after a 4-day visit to Nigeria, described the situation resulting from the Boko Haram terror campaign and government’s counter-insurgency measures as “displaying all the hallmarks of the highest category crises.” In further assessing the crisis, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that the crisis, coming into its eight year, “shows no sign of abating and is adding to the long history of marginalization and chronic under-development as well as a higher rate of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment.” These have been further confirmed by members of the #BringBackOurGirls group, some of whom are family members of IDPs, and some working in alleviating their plights.
Our government is not responding with the required urgency. Shortly after our movement began on 30 April 2014, we took up the issue of IDPs and had our first symbolic visits to IDP camps around Abuja with modest humanitarian support within our means. We have continually highlighted their plight but unfortunately little or nothing has of their welfare and well-being has improved.
The IDP population in Nigeria, those in formal camps, is officially estimated by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to be two million; however, the vast majority of IDPs – accounting for up to 90% of the entire IDP population – are in informal settlements and host communities, most of which are not government-recognized, as a result, they are mainly catered to by the non-governmental organizations and international humanitarian agencies. Many are trapped in territories the government had declared free from the insurgents and habitable for normal life. Places like Gwoza, Bama, Dikwa, Monguno, and others are only accessible via military escort. The others are completely cut off. For instance, in only 2 locations in Gwoza are accessible to multinational and domestic humanitarian workers, the rest are only accessible via military escort at most once a day, the others are completely cut off! IDPs are dying of hunger and starvation! There are hardly any records of the scores of IDPs in and around Abuja and all over the nation.
The lot of those in government-controlled camps is not any different. Further to the above, there have been confirmed reports of sexual molestation of IDPs including by military and police personal. The authorities claimed that some have been apprehended for these acts and will be duly punished, but the matter has subsequently been swept under the carpet.
The Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiatives (PCNI) is an institution of the Presidency to, among others, cater to the need of IDPs, but has left much to be desired. For instance, the PCNI was recently unable to convincingly account for N2.5 billion spent. Hundreds of millions were said to be spent on trainings and workshops, other hundreds of millions on clearing grasses around IDP camps as IDPs are malnourished and dying of starvation!
The Borno Ministry of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, and Resettlement (RRR) is currently doing an abysmally poor job. Their focus in the so-called rehabilitation has been commercial properties of politically-connected persons, as against looking out for the downtrodden and vulnerable to lift them up back to a normal life. There are growing concerns that there are arrangements to source building materials from abroad, in place of sourcing them locally in order to boost business and trade.
We do not see any serious effort at having agricultural plans to engage the IDPs to be productively engaged and to stimulate food production for the next season in the relatively safe recovered areas.
In all, our IDPs are forget and treated as second-class humans, and they are not! Their plight requires all the seriousness and urgency.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls