6 years after, 2000 IDPs return to home for Eid-el-Fitr

The Nigerian Army on Sunday, 17th of June, said no fewer than 2,000 returnees celebrated Eid-el-Fitr at Gudumbali town in Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno, for the first time in six years.

The town, which is 125 kilometres north of Maiduguri, the state capital, was deserted by locals in the area following incessant attacks by Boko Haram insurgents.

According to a statement issued by Brig.-Gen. Texas Chukwu, Director Army Public Relations, the IDPs returned to their ancestral home following successes recorded in the ongiong Operation Last Hold.He said that more returnees were escorted back home by troops.
“Following the achievements recorded by the troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE, the Nigerian Army consolidated the operations with clearance operation which is Sharan Gwona da Sharan Gida and dominance patrols.

“The returnees, drawn from different IDP camps were assured of their safety and government’s assistance in rebuilding their homes and livelihoods.

“Building materials are already being stocked for distribution as efforts are intensified to clear and open up more communities in the nine Local Government Area Councils of Northern Borno,” Texas said.He quoted the Commander of Operation LAST HOLD, Maj.-Gen. Abba Dikko, who welcomed the returnees, as saying that the military would not rest on its oars until all displaced persons were safely returned to their ancestral homes.

Texas said the commander asked all terrorists to either surrender and be reintegrated into their communities or be “vanquished and conquered”.

Air Force Treats 200 IDP’s In Benue

The Nigerian Air Force has administered free treatment to no fewer than 200 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) affected by the flood in Benue.

Squadron Leader Jeremiah Amase, told the  Reporters on Monday in Makurdi that some of the patients were suffering from hypertension, Malaria, diarrhea, upper and lower respiratory infections among others.

The Chief of Air staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, had earlier inaugurated the “Medical Outreach Programme” to assist IDPs as part of the Nigerian Airforce’s ( NAF ) social responsibility to the people of the state.

Amase explained that the over 200 patients attended to responded to treatment.

He said that the clinic had not received any case beyond the medical team’s capability and commended the efforts of medical doctors from the Benue State University Makurdi for their collaboration.

He, however, disclosed that the major challenge facing the camp was lack of water and poor sanitation system which he said was being addressed.

Reports have it that the NAF is collaborating with the State Government, UNICEF and other international and local organizations to assist the flood victims.

Dangote Feeds 371000 IDPs

Africa’s foremost businessman, Aliko Dangote has donated food items worth more than N200 million to the Internally Displaced People in Borno State, to complement government’s humanitarian interventions.

The food will take care of an estimated 371,000 IDPs.

He said he had always felt for those in the IDP camps and that the donation became more urgent given that it is Ramadan period.

The business mogul who made the donation of the items through his Foundation, The Aliko Dangote Foundation, pledged that he would be willing to complement any government efforts designed to ameliorate the suffering of the IDPs anywhere.

Chief Executive of the Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, who made the donation and distribution of the food materials on behalf of Dangote, explained that the gesture was part of the Foundation’s humanitarian efforts contributing to the well-being of Nigerians in need.

“This gesture is in continuation of the Group’s efforts to provide succor to Internally Displaced Persons in Borno State”, she stated.

According to her, the decision to bring down to Borno the food items was the demonstration of the Foundation’s undertaking “to ensure that the IDPs also have a successful Ramadan period just as their other Muslim counterparts in other parts of the world. ”

“The Foundation is providing food items worth N200 Million to support the IDPs in the state. Today, the Items the Aliko Dangote Foundation have delivered include: Rice, Spaghetti, Sugar, Salt, Millet, Maize, Noodles, Semolina and Wheat Meal”, she said.

The Governor of Borno state, Alhaji Kashim Shetima, who formally flagged-off the distribution, thanked the Dangote Foundation for its continuous support to the people of Borno state, epecialy to the victims of insurgency.

Said he, “words are not enough to describe how grateful the people of Borno are to Alhaji Aliko Dangote and his Foundation, who has relentlessly come to support and share in our plight in our time of need.”

He asserted that since the inception of the insurgency, the Dangote Foundation remains the largest single individual donor to the IDPs in the state after the Federal and State governments.

Also, the Executive Chairman of the State Emergency Management Agency, Engr. Ahmed Satome, said that the Dangote Foundation is unique in the sense that it provides all classes of food required by the IDPs in line with the global acceptable standards.

While commending the efforts of the Foundation, he said that a total of 371,000 individuals will benefit from this Ramadan intervention.

Other dignitaries at the occasion include the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Borno State House of Assembly and other members of the Borno State Executive Council.

It would be recalled that following the report, earlier of unhealthy conditions in which the IDPs live in 2016, Alhaji Dangote visited some of the camps and his Foundation made a jumbo donation of N2 billion and hundreds of millions of Naira worth of food items.

Within a spate of five years, the total amount donated to various camps of IDPs, across the country by the Dangote Foundation has grown significantly to N6.3 billion. The Foundation donated N364 to IDPs in Kaduna, Bauchi and Gombe states after the 2011 post-election violence which rendered many homeless, while in another breath the sums of N100 million and N60 million were respectively donated to victims of flood disaster in Lagos and Oyo State also in 2011.


Tuface Pledges To Donate Proceeds UNHCR For IDPs, Refugees

Music icon, Innocent Idibia, popularly known as Tuface, has pledged to donate the proceeds from his song to the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Nigeria, to assist Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Tuface, who is the Chairman of the Tuface Foundation, made the pledge on Thursday when he visited the UNHCR office in Abuja.

He said that his foundation would donate 60 per cent of the proceeds from his music dedicated to Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Tuface said that the song, which would be launched in commemoration of the World Refugees Day on June 20, is part of his contribution to alleviating the plights of the IDPs.

“I have decided to dedicate my time, resources and my voice to support the UNHCR in this massive endeavor of alleviating the sufferings of displaced persons.

“On the June 20th which is the world refugees’ day, I am going to be commissioning a song and this song will be monetized.

“60 per cent of the proceeds will be donated to the UNHCR to further its humanitarian effort to alleviating the plights of refugees and IDPs.

“We want people to join in this campaign by downloading the song to use it as their ring tones, caller back tones.

“This download, which would cost between N50 to N100, is an opportunity for every Nigerian to contribute in their own little ways to the course of assisting displaced persons,’’ Tuface said.

The Music icon stressed the need to create more awareness for people to understand the magnitude of the forced displacement and suffering of the IDPs and refugees so that they can do more to assist them.

Tuface said, “It is very disheartening to be stranded in your own home, many people who have not been hit directly downplay the situation’’.

He commended the Nigerian government, UNHCR, International and Local Organisations and kind hearted individuals who have contributed in assisting the displaced persons.

In her remarks, Mrs Bridgette Mukanga-Eno, Deputy Representative, Protection, UNHCR, Nigeria, appreciated the Tuface foundation for supporting UNHCR in its intervention in the North-East.

She said that the collaboration with the Tuface foundation started last year but was concretize in February when the agency received a donation from the foundation to support its activities in the North-East.

Mukanga-Eno said that the contributions from the Tuface foundation have really helped in assisting the IDPs, especially in developing livelihood activities for them.

She said that the agency developed vocational facilities including mechanic trainings, iron bending, carpentry for the men and sewing for the ladies among others.

She said that the Nigerian government through relevant Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) has done a lot in assisting the IDPs but a lot still need to be done to address the huge humanitarian crises in the North-East.

Mukanga-Eno said that the food scarcity is overwhelming and is not sufficient for the over 1.8 million IDPs, saying that the influx of over 19,000 Nigerian refugees from Niger, Chad and Cameroon has made it worse.

She called for more support to cater for the IDPs and returnees in the areas of protection, food, livelihood, healthcare, education among others.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in February, Tuface donated N3.5 million to the UNHCR to support its humanitarian intervention to the displaced persons in the North-East.

Committee Urges IDPs Managers, Security Agencies To End Sexual Harassment

Agencies responsible for the duty to safeguard IDP camps have been called by Mr Abdulkadir Azarema, Chairman, National Logistic Committee on Distribution of Relief Material to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), to safeguard camps and unite to avoid sexual harassment.

Azarema made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Benin.

The Chairman, who is also an Assistant Comptroller of Customs, said that Benin IDPs camp had not recorded any case of sexual harassment like other camps in the Northeast.

“The issue of social menace; we are happy here, the pastor has told us that there were no reports on social or sexual harassment.

“There were no cases of diseases but nevertheless in other places we have heard of some cases.

“The agencies responsible for maintaining the camps, state governments, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and health officials should put hands together to ensure that IDPs camps are secure from insurgency.

“They should be sure they are protected from internal problems such as conflict between IDPs, conflict between security agencies and social workers and the issue of sexual harassment should be curtailed

“The IDPs should also respect one another and ensure they live in harmony with one another.”


Councillor Jailed For Selling Rice Meant For IDPs

Two supervisory councilors from Maga Local Government Area have been sentenced to jail for selling the rice meant for IDPs.  The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has secured the conviction of a Supervisory Councillor from Mafa Local Government Area, Umar Ibrahim and one Bulama Ali Zangebe.

They were prosecuted before Justice F. Umaru of the State High Court Maiduguri on a 4-count charge bordering on conspiracy to sell and misappropriate the proceed of rice meant for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mafa Local Government.

Ibrahim was arrested alongside Zangebe and Modu Bulama, for allegedly diverting 180 bags of rice donated by Danish Refugee Council (DRC), a Non-Governmental Organization, for victims of insurgency in Mafa Local Government.

In his Judgment, Justice Umar held that “The EFCC proved its case beyond reasonable doubt as there was an agreement to do illegal act. The convicts conspired to do an illegal act to sell rice meant for the IDPs”.

He, therefore, sentenced both convicts to two years and a fine of N1m each on the charge of criminal misappropriation and two years in prison for conspiracy. The N50,000 recovered from the agents that sold the rice was ordered forfeited to the Borno State Government”.

Count two of the charge read:

“That you, UMAR IBRAHIM and one SHETTIMA LAWAN MAINA (now at large) sometime in November, 2016 at Maiduguri, Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court dishonestly converted to your personal use the sum of N1,440,000.00 (one million, four hundred and forty thousand naira) only, being the proceeds from the sale of 180 bags of rice meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State contrary to and punishable under Sections 308 and 309 of the Penal Code Law Cap 345, Laws of the Northern States of Nigeria respectively”.

Poor Feeding: IDPs Cries to Government in Borno State

One of the inmates, Hajja Falmata Bukar noted that the commendable efforts of the Federal and Borno Governments of providing adequate food for their feeding was being frustrated by the SEMA officials.

“We all know that the Federal Government had been supplying large quantities of food for the feeding of the IDPs. The State Government has also been trying.

“But the problem has to do with SEMA officials who are entrusted with the tasks of sharing the food to people living in the camps,” she said.

According to her, SEMA officials have not supplied food to the IDPs for several weeks in spite of complaints.

“For the past six weeks we have not gotten food supplies in this camp.

“They rushed in some supplies when they realized that officials of the UN Security Council were coming on a visit,” Bukar claimed.

She said that even then, the food supplied was inadequate.

“When they abolished the centralized cooking for the IDPs, we were very happy, because we thought every IDP will now get enough food to feed his family.

“But sadly, the problem has not abated as the food ration usually supplied to households is grossly inadequate,” Bukar said.

She added:” How do you expect a family of six to survive for one month with a 25 kg bag of rice and two liter of cooking oil. This is grossly inadequate”.

Malam Jumai Maisalati another IDP corroborated the claim saying that the problem had forced some IDPs to beg for food outside the camp to survive.

“Many of us have turned into beggars because we have to get food to feed our children,” Maisalati said.

She accused officials in charge of sharing the food of engaging in stealing.

“They have been diverting food meant for the IDPs to the market.

“We are appealing to the governor to intervene and ensure Justice,” Maisalati said.

Mallam Musa Bello, another IDP said the best option was to handover the camp to the World Food Program (WFP).

“We want the State Government to allow the WFP take over the feeding in the camp, like the case in some camps.

“I am saying this because the IDPs been fed by the WFP are hundred times better than us,” Bello. said.

He also called for the removal of top management of SEMA, accusing them of mismanagement.

“I think the only solution to the problem of poor feeding in IDP camps is for government to sack the management of SEMA and appoint a new one”.

Reacting to the claims, the SEMA Chairman, Mallam Ahmad Satomi denied the allegation of diversion of food items meant for IDPs.

“The allegation is untrue, non of our officials have ever engaged in flood diversion in camps.

“The IDPs will always complain no matter what you give them, most of them sell their food ration as soon as they are given and continue to complain of hunger,” Satome said.

Death Toll On Accidental Air Strike May Rise To 170 – MSF

The Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) on Friday said the death toll from an accidental Nigerian air strike on a refugee camp in the town of Rann has risen to around 90 people, and could be as high as 170, Reuters has reported.

MSF also known as Doctors without Borders in a statement said the higher figure of 170 comes from residents and community leaders.

Tuesday’s strike on the northeastern town in Borno State, which had Boko Haram militants as its target, has led to an investigation by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF). The inquiry’s report is due to be submitted no later than February 2.

“This figure needs to be confirmed,” said Bruno Jochum, MSF General Director, in the statement.

“The victims of this horrifying event deserve a transparent account of what happened and the circumstances in which this attack took place.”

Borno is the epicentre of Boko Haram’s seven-year-long attempt to create an Islamic caliphate in the North-east. The insurgency has killed more than 15,000 people since 2009 and forced some two million to flee their homes, many of whom have moved to camps for internally displaced people.

“A Nigerian airforce plane circled twice and dropped two bombs in the middle of the town of Rann, which hosts thousands of internally displaced people,” MSF said.

“At the time of the attack, an aid distribution was taking place.”

On Thursday, Human Rights Watch said the strike had destroyed 35 structures, and hit 100 metres from what appears to be a Nigerian military compound, raising questions about why precautions were not taken to avoid harming civilans.

Troops Foil Suicide Bomb Attempt On IDP Camp

Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole deployed behind Bakassi Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, Damboa road, Maiduguri, on Sunday intercepted and killed a male suicide bomber.

Col. Sani Usman, the army spokesman said in a statement that the troops, who were deployed on security duty, killed the bomber, who had attempted to sneak through their inner parapet towards the IDP camp.

He said that the incident occured at about 9.00 a.m.

It will be recalled that suicide bombers killed some nine people close to the camp on Saturday after detonating their explosives.

“The vigilant sentry sighted the bomber and laid in wait until the suicide bomber came close.

“The sniper instantly shot and killed the terrorists as he tried to force his way to the western flank of the IDP camp fence.

“Unfortunately, the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) vest strapped on the bomber failed to detonate.

“Consequently, a combined team of military and police Explosive Ordinance Device (EOD) have been called to safely detonate the IED,” Usman said.

He, however, said the situation at the camp and the general area was calm. (NAN)

FG To Formally Commence Relocation Of IDPs

The Nigerian government says it is set to formally commence the relocation of internally displaced persons to their original homes.

In what it tagged ‘operation back home’, the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), said its plan is to focus on ensuring the safe return of at least 2 million displaced Nigerians to their homes.

NCFRMI’s commissioner, Sadiya Farouq, made this known in Abuja, during a meeting with the commission’s management.

“We will intensify efforts to rehabilitate victims nationally and empower them in conjunction with local, state and federal governments as well as the international community.

“I appeal to you all to join in the ‘Operation Back Home’ (OBH) for Internally Displaced Persons,” she said.

Ms. Farouq said the program will include persons displaced by activities of herdsmen, flood and other disasters and will be centred on ensuring the safety of the territories the displaced persons are meant to return to.

“OBH also includes the Benue, Ekiti, Enugu, Zamfara and other states displaced by herdsmen, flood and sundry disasters.

“We are going to conduct a survey to know who the real IDPs are, know where they are coming from and if it is not safe for them to go back home, we will find a way to make life very comfortable for them for the time being.

“That is what we are going to do because this thing is not something that can be achieved over night. But we will do our best.

“Our plan is to collaborate with all the strategic partners because we all have the same mission. So, we will work hand in hand with all the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the goal is met,” she said.

500,000 Families Displaced By Boko Haram To Get N17,000 Each

At least 500,000 households displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency will benefit N17,000 each from the World Food Programme in 2016, an official has said.

The World Food Programme is a project of the United Nations that addresses hunger and promotes food security.

The Chairman of Borno State Emergency Agency, Ahmed Satomi, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Maiduguri, said 35,000 households had so far benefited.

He said that the agency planned to reach out to 1.4 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) taking refuge in other communities.

“We are targeting the most vulnerable couples, widows and those who have passed through great hardship as a result of the insurgency.

“Apart from our IDPs in the 28 camps, we also have about a million of them taking refuge in host communities of Jere and Maiduguri Metropolitan Council.

“The token would be given to them to encourage them to start up something that would enable them cater for their families to alleviate their suffering,” he said.

Mr. Satomi also spoke of the procedure for giving out the money.

“We will go to each and every of these households to obtain their bio-metric data and head count.

“We will also try to see how we can empower them on basic skills acquisition as well as entrepreneurship which will go a long way in assisting the beneficiaries.

“So far, we have started with Gwange one, two and three, Meri and Shettimari areas in the state capital,” he said.

He said that the state government would soon start distributing food items to the IDPs in their host communities.

Apart from causing the death of over 20,000 people since 2009, the Boko Haram insurgency has also caused the displacement of over a million people.

Some of the displaced persons have returned to their homes in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe since the Nigerian Army retook most of the territory formerly controlled by the insurgents.