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Niger expresses concern over IDP camps

By Justina Asishana, Minna

The Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) has disclosed that the state currently has 20 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.

The Director-General of the Agency, Alhaji Ibrahim Inga revealed this to reporters over the weekend when the Victims Support Fund (VSF) visited the Gwada IDP Camp in Shiroro Local Government Area.

According to Inga, the burden of taking care of the IDPs is taking a toll on the state government because of the dwindling resources as the government resources can no longer sustain the displaced people for a long time.

“The Niger State government is having serious challenges over the IDPs situation in the state. That is why we call on kind-hearted individuals and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to help us because this situation is not easy and has overwhelmed us, especially with the lean resources and economic hardship in the country.

“The state is not deriving its resources elsewhere as its resources come within the economy of the country. This is why we call for people to come so that we can partner and make the living conditions of these people better.”

Inga further explained that the majority of the displaced people are still in the camp because their communities are not safe for them to return.

“Most of them are from Kaure which is where Boko Haram has hoisted their flag and we have not yet gotten security clearance that the place is safe for them to return. The government does not want to gamble with their lives by telling them to return when their homes are not safe,” he said.

After an assessment tour around the Gwada IDP camp, the Executive Director of the Victim Support Fund (VSF), Prof. Nana Tanko said the organisation whose Chairman is rtd. General Theophilus Danjuma will come in to assist the IDPs in the area of education, food and look at ways to provide means of livelihood for them.

“The area of interventions that we will look at would be education because a lot of the children are out of school, food and a means of livelihood. Those are the areas we are going to look into and see how we can help.”

She expressed concern over the fact that it is only the state government and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs that have reached out to the displaced persons in the camp. He called on other humanitarian agencies and development partners to reach out to the people.

One of the displaced persons, Reverend John Samari who spoke on behalf of the people said their topmost challenge is food and a means of livelihood, adding that their children have been out of school for the two years that they have been in the IDP camp.

He appealed to the government to look into the security situation and address it.

“We are appealing to the government to look into the issue. We will be happy to return home because we are fed up living here for over two years. It has not been easy,” he said.

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