Wednesday, August 12, 2015


13th August, 2015

The Boko Haram phenomenon has brought untold suffering to North Eastern Nigeria. Apart from massive deaths and destruction of properties worth billions of naira, there is hunger, starvation and displacement of a large number of people. Vulnerable people like women and children are the worst victims. Several schools and markets remain shut while socio-economic life is at a standstill.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), there were about 1.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria as at April this year. There is no doubt that the number has risen geometrically.

This figure includes people displaced as a result of brutal attacks by Boko Haram, the government’s counter-insurgency operations, inter-communal clashes, and natural hazard-induced disasters. But victims of the Boko Haram insurgency have the lion share of displacements.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) hereby expresses grave concern about the plight of IDPs in North Eastern Nigeria. It is obvious that adequate care has not been provided. There have been reports of IDPs starving for days. The number of IDPs in camps grossly outweighs the facilities provided.

In Gombe State alone for example, only 3,000 of them could be accommodated at the official camp out of about 25,000 registered IDPs. What is the fate of the rest? The Federal Government has a moral obligation to answer this question. Many of the IDPs scattered across other Northern states are currently experiencing this inhuman condition.

Fresh births were reported in camps early this week and, according to the UNPF, the number of births recorded among internally displaced persons in Nigeria is estimated to hit 60,000 by the end of 2015. How prepared are we for these incoming babies?

Although much of the blame should go to the immediate past administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan who adopted a lackadaisical attitude in the early days of the insurgency and treated the issue of IDPs with kid gloves, the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari must face this challenge with the urgency it requires.

Jonathan’s Presidential Committee on Victims Support Fund, VSF, which raised N58 billion shortly after the ex-president inaugurated the body  to raise money for the support and rehabilitation of victims of insurgency, reportedly gave food and non-food items to displaced persons in the state only once, on January 9, 2015. There is no record that additional supply was distributed before the exit of Jonathan. What has been done with the N58 billion raised by VSF? Nigerians want to know.

In the meantime, MURIC suggests the following as long term solutions to the challenges faced by the North East:

1.  immediate establishment of a North East Development Commission (NEDEC) along the same line as the Niger Delta Development Commission;
2.  active involvement of corporate bodies in the assistance of IDPs and the speedy development of the North East;
3.  regular visits to IDP camps by top government officials for on-the-spot assessments and the moral upliftment of people of the sub-region;
4.  adequate and updated press coverage of living conditions in IDP camps and
5.  adequate accountability measures in the distribution process of donated cash and items in IDP camps in order to curb abuse.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “Have mercy on those on earth and those in heaven will shower mercy on you”.

MURIC therefore appeals to wealthy Nigerians, charity organizations, professional and corporate bodies like banks, wireless service providers, oil companies, etc, to urgently come to the aid of IDPs in the North East. 

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

No comments:

Post a Comment