AHMED MARI, MAIDUGURI
Few hours after of a business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and a world popular musician, Mr. Paul David Hewson (BONO) visited Bakassi internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, hundreds of aggrieved IDPs from the camp went on rampage, protesting and barricading the Maiduguri- Biu road in the metropolis, alleging ‘poor feeding system and ill-treatment’ by government and other humanitarian agencies.
The IDPs who were on peaceful protest on Monday morning, said they were not satisfied with a situation where a family of three or four people will be given same amount of foodstuff with a family of 10 or 15 members on a monthly basis of household feeding introduced by State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
It took the quick intervention of the state government officials and North East Coordinator of NEMA, Alhaji Mohammed Kanar, to douse the tension.
The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Kashim Shettima on Information, Communication Technology (ICT) and Social Media, Alhaji Mohammed Bashir Talbari, said: “The ongoing IDPs protest in camps were instigated by group of politicians with deep rooted prejudice against the administration of Governor Kashim Shettima who are trying to cause disaffection”.
Bakassi has a population of 152,000 IDPs from Nganzai, Monguno, Gwoza and other local government areas of the state
It would be recalled that just last week, hundreds of IDPs mostly women and children from Marte Local Government Area of the state left their camp at Arabic Teachers College in the metropiolis and disrupted traffic flow along the Maiduguri-Kano road.
It took the intervention of the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Usman Durkwa, to calm the situation.
Over 1.6million IDPs are currently taking refuge in Maiduguri in the last two years, with proportionate number of them mostly children have died due to malnutrition.
Based on the Memorandum of Understanding with Borno State Government, NEMA takes care of providing food items while the state government provides condiments in managing these IDPs.
An eye witness who sells blocks close to Bakassi camp, but did not want his name mentioned, told our Correspondent that he had to close shop for the day as the rampaging IDPs have started burning tyres on the main road leading to a traffic jam.
Meanwhile, Tarbari, while reacting to the recent protest, said: “It has come to the notice of the government that the disgruntled and desperate politicians for self-centredness use some vulnerable people at various internally displaced person’s camps to cause conflict between the authorities and the respective communities by instigating them to protest on unfounded allegations with regards to their feeding system which with all intent and purposes, have been addressed.
“It must be realised that in a situation as this where hundreds and thousands of internally-displaced persons are being catered for, there might be minor mistakes which do not erode the good intentions of the authorities to give the best possible to the affected. Besides, there will always be a room for improvement.
“Now that peace is gradually returning to Borno and elsewhere, it behoves us all as patriotic people to work in harmony for the people and not to aggravate any situation to cause further untold hardship on the people.
“Therefore, the people of Borno and especially those in the internally-displaced person’s camps should be wary of some unscrupulous politicians or individuals who may wish to use them for their personal agenda or settle political scores.
”It has become imperative for all to know that the era of impunity is over and it behoves on the law enforcement agencies to bring sanity to the entire system by bringing to book the trouble makers and masterminds of violence irrespective of their status in the society.
“Borno State Government would continue to discharge its responsibility and mandate to all against all odds”.