The plight of internally displaced persons
Sir: It is no longer news that conflicts and natural disasters often cause large-scale displacement of people due to destruction of homes and environment. Therefore, the internally displaced persons who flee or leave their homes so as not to be consumed by the conflicts are forced to live a life of give and take in IDPs camp.
The internally displaced persons are often more disadvantaged than refugees because they do not benefit from assistance provided by international agencies unless the national government requests for such assistance. The way and manner IDPs live their life is somewhat worrisome. Yet, the society does not recognise the fact that the internally displaced persons once had a dream.
The activities of Boko Haram in the past six years have forced over a million people to flee their homes. This has resulted in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the Northeast, as thousands of people are helpless and homeless. This is very disheartening.
The current statistics of the National Population Commission estimates that 80 percent of internally displaced persons in Nigeria are women and children who are not the initiators of the conflicts but end up being the severest victims. For women and children, the situation is worsened because it is a case of double jeopardy as the war situations turn life into a ‘living hell’ for them because crimes are committed against their dignity and liberty.
According to Displacement Tracking Matric, revealed that there were 1,188,018 IDPs in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe states. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) also identified 47,276 IDPS in Plateau, Nasarawa, Abuja, Kano and Kaduna states in Northern Nigeria, and that the highest numbers of IDPs are in Borno 672,714 followed by Adamawa 220,159 and Yobe 135,810 IDPS. The report further reveals that in Taraba, 79.7 percent of IDPs have been displaced by communal clashes. Yet, spotlight is not place on this people.
The media should do more by highlighting the IDPs plights in order to draw attention of the government, civil society organisations, and other stakeholders to help improve their conditions. Understandably, this will not reduce the sufferings of the internally displaced persons but it will help to reduce crime in the society. Because a society where people are living in agony and pains, dubious activities are bound to occur. A stitch in time saves nine.
Aondover Eric Msughter, wrote in from the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano.
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