Currently there are over two million people who are displaced from their communities and taking refuge in different locations within and outside the country due to Boko Haram. Most of these are from North Eastern states of Nigeria, and are commonly referred to as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and include adult males, women, and children; most of whom may have lost their one or more members of their family and have been forced to reside in camps at various locations in Nigeria.
It is worth noting that Borno State in particular has been spending significant resources to maintain and look after the welfare of the majority of people residing in IDP camps in and outside the state.
Considering the magnitude of the plight of such people, and the huge resources the state government has been expending to cushion the hardship of such persons, it might be necessary for both the international community and the federal government to lend their support toward addressing the plight of the IDPs.
However going by the prevailing events, it is disheartening to note that even the donations made by the international community and well meaning Nigerians to assist the victims of the insurgency that were channeled through the federal government are yet to be released for the purpose given.
While such donations including the 61 billion Naira collected under the general TY Danjuma Appeal Fund for Displaced Persons, and the 2 million US dollars donated by the governments of the United States and Qatar, were regrettably regarded as a federal grant and expendable at the pleasure of the President leading to their politicization.
Logically donations made by the international community are to be dispersed to ensure the amount given impacts the lives of the affected victims directly. But this is not presently the case. Apart from the donor agencies and the individuals the affected communities benefiting are supposed to be directly involved in the disbursement of the donation so far collected. The failure by the federal government to involve the citizens of the affected communities, and the local government, in any project intended for them has cast doubt to whether the federal government’s intensions are genuine.
While the Borno State government is inundated with a myriad problems, placing significant pressure on its budgetary resources, there is no visible attempt by the federal government to either reimburse or allocate a substantial part of the donated amount to address the plight of the citizens affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
So far the state government’s singular efforts in looking after the welfare of such persons in their various camps including feeding, clothing, providing education; constructing health facilities, portable drinking water stations, improving the sanitation of their environment deserves the highest commendation. Yet the federal government has not made any genuine effort to measure up to the public’s expectations in the northeast, as if the people of Borno State are not citizens of Nigeria because of variance in party leadership in the state and that of the federal government.
Politics shouldn’t have been allowed to permeate into this issue that directly affects the lives and well being of the helpless citizens who are badly in need of assistance.
On the other hand the international community should take keen interest in policing the expenditure of their donations to avoid diversion, as well as ensuring that it reaches the actual victims inline with internationally acceptable best practice.
It should also ensure that all the land mines said to have been planted by Boko haram insurgents in various towns and villages as their defense mechanisms were removed, and the surrounding areas must be certified to be safe before asking people to return to their homes. Thereafter the government must restore all essential services necessary for habitation for the people to pick the bit and pieces of their lives and live in peace without rancor or acrimony.