by Usman Alabi
According to IDMC estimates, there are almost 2,152,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Nigeria as of 31 December 2015
Recently the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) round 10 report for June 2016 also has it that
2,066,783 IDPs (344,564 households) were identified in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Zamfara states and Abuja FCT.
87% of the total IDP population which is 1,808,021 has been displaced by insurgency. This number is that captured through the DTM assessment
Majority of the IDPs are identified in Borno (1,404,483) followed by Adamawa (159,445) and Yobe (112,671)
It took time before I realize that we have a humanitarian crisis in Nigeria even while I was serving in the North in 2012, even when I was also displaced from my place of primary Assignment by Boko Haram insurgents. Majority of the IDPs were displaced in 2014 (61.5%), while the percentage of IDPs displaced in 2015 according to DTM is 34.2%, I never realized that we were on the verge of this and it would not be long before it goes global. For most of us down in the south, we might not know the enormity or the gravity of the IDP.
IDP is what happens when a whole region is ravaged by an unprecedented insurgency that has gone sub regional, ravaged by a terrorist group that is reputed to be the deadliest in the world.
All sought of challenges are prevalent in the IDPs ranging from shortage of food, diseases, prostitution, insecurity, malnutrition, to mention but a few. Borno state has the highest number of IDPs; this is because it is the major operating point of the Boko Haram insurgents.
The question is, can we close all the IDP camps in 2017, the Borno state governor, Shettima has 2017 has a target; the question is whether it is visible to realize that without putting some factors into consideration.
The major challenge to that is the Boko Haram insurgency, though the terrorists have been decimated and their combat capacity drastically weakened yet they still constitute a potent threat to lives and security; and the fact that they are still there sends cold shivers to those who had once encountered them. Therefore if we are returning or sending these people back to their homes, we must be sure of routing BH insurgents from every nooks and crannies of the northeast including the impregnable Sambisa forest. The next thing that needs to be addressed is the security architecture. The security architecture has to be reordered and response immediate. I would suggest that the federal government should establish military barrack in the border towns and military patrol units in those extreme areas of Borno state especially; we must consider local police and restore the trust of the people in the security agencies. We must be ready to respond in a twinkle of an eye and crush any anti state struggle in that area, this is necessary to send a message to the remnants of the terrorists that the good old days of impunity are gone.
The next is reconstruction and development. The northeast region is like a war zone, It is important that the factors that led to the terrorists having more soldiers must be addressed, I meant the socioeconomic challenges, and politico-religious factors. Deradicalization has to be vigorously pursued with investments in educational infrastructures.
Beyond this if we must resettle the IDPs next year, it is a collective effort, I have not seen any solidarity support from other states and their governors as regards this humanitarian situation in the IDPs.
Hence if we must close the IDPs in 2017, we must pay close attention to the issues above, not only that we must also begin to consider what happens outside the camp, in the host communities.
Do you think we can close the camps in 2017?
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