By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi.
President Muhammadu Buhari has told the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) taking refuge in Bauchi that the Federal Government has not forgotten them having been in the good hands of the state government.
The President commiserated with the IDPs over their predicaments, saying their rehabilitation places could not give them good feelings no matter how good they were for their homes are better.
Buhari, who spoke through the Minister of Women Affairs, Senator A’isha Alhassan at the distribution of relief materials to the IDPs in Bauchi, expressed worry for the circumstances that brought them to the present status.
“The President is happy that the Government and good people of Bauchi been hospitable people have accommodated you and you are now assimilated into the host communities and you are feeling at home”, the minister said.
He assured the IDPs that the federal government in collaboration with the Bauchi state government is doing everything possible to see that those interested in going back to their homes are taken back.
The IDPs should therefore be patient and law-abiding, while sending their children to schools, as having not been in their homes and communities does not mean that they should not send their children to schools.
Wife of the Bauchi State Governor, Hadiza Mohammed Abubakar had in a welcome address commended the Federal government’s efforts in restoring peace in the insurgency affected areas, saying Bauchi had over time been secured and peaceful providing havens for both citizens and IDPs.
“Currently there are no formal internally displaced persons’ camps in the state, rather the environment is favourable and friendly with all IDPs accommodated in host communities. We have in Bauchi succeeded in internalizing them and making them to be part of the family”, she said.
Hajiya Hadiza Abubakar appreciated the giant strides of the Federal Government for its compassion over the plight of the IDPs generally and prayed for return of peace and security to the affected places, and for the government’s unflinching support particularly to women and children.
She expressed optimism that the Minister’s fact finding mission will generate concerns and strategic policy decision that will ensure the safe return of the IDPs to their homes, and to equally provide a more proactive and result-based intervention programme that will make them self-reliance.
Minister A’isha Alhassan was handy into Bauchi to complement the state government’s efforts with FG’s 600 bags of rice, 300 bags of maize, 300 bags of millet, 300 bags of guinea corn, 300 bags of beans 100 cartons of vegetable oil, 100 cartons of palm oil, 250 cartons of Indomie noodles, 100 cartons of powdered milk and 100 cartons of Milo.
Other relief materials from the federal government to the Bauchi IDPs are 150 bags of Omo, 150 cartons of bathing soap, 250 pieces of sanitary pads, 1000 pieces of mosquito nets, 1000 pieces of blankets, 500 pieces of mattresses, 500 pieces of nylon mats, 500 pieces of slippers, 500 pieces of plastic buckets, 500 pieces of plastic cups, 500 pieces of plastic plates and 100 pieces of plastic spoons.
The IDPs therefore called on the government to be sincere in its concern for them, and come to their rescue as they have nowhere to turn to for help, according to one Halima Abubakar, (40), who hails from Maiduguri, Borno State.
According to Halima, herself, the husband and their 5 children are desirous of going back to their home in Maiduguri, but “there is no food there and people are really suffering.”
“We didn’t get anything from the intervention of the state government to the IDPs. We were only taken to the government house and we saw the relief items but we were not given anything. We have not gotten any assistance of whatever kind either from the state or the federal government”, she said.
“When the Wife of President Buhari brought her intervention some months ago, it was the same thing that happened. How can they treat us like that. Their attitude towards us shows that they don’t empathize with us”, another IDP, Habiba Saidu said, adding “Even this intervention from the Minister, there is no guarantee that anything will get to us”.
In reaction to the IDPs complaints, the Permanent Secretary with Bauchi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Aliyu Ahmed said that there is no item meant for the IDPs that will ever be enough for them.
According to him, no matter how honest and sincere the government is, not everyone will get what is being shared, arguing that “How do you share 300 bags of grains to the 20 local government areas of the state? How can you share 300 bags to over 70,000 IDPs?
“We have not received much support from the federal government for the IDPs. We are still expecting relief materials from the federal government. We are doing our best but there is always never enough to go round to everyone,” Ahmed said.
The Permanent Secretary who disclosed that the state has two sets of IDPs, comprising of those affected by communal clashes and insurgency, explained that relief materials are often distributed to the IDPs at the Local government and ward levels.
Alhaji Aliyu Ahmed further disclosed that there are over a million IDPs in Bauchi state with over 76,000 of them affected by insurgency.
By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi.