From stolen dates to rotten rice, the story of how Nigeria maltreats its IDPs

At Tedx Ikeja in 2017, Busayo Morakinyo, one of the speakers who spoke on the topic “IDPs, it could be you” stated unequivocally that any human being can end up an internally displaced person at any point in time, irrespective of social status as natural and manmade disasters are not a respecter of persons. He ended his Ted talk by calling for proper care of all IDPs in the country.

Internally displaced persons in Nigeria came to an increase as a result of Boko Haram attacks which have been for a while now and have remained relatively unabated till date. In fact, Boko Haram has displaced over one million Nigerians till date. As a result of these, the government have created various IDP camps across the country to provide a safe haven for these Nigerians.

Several years after these camps were opened, there have been reports of mismanagement by government officials which have led to malnutrition, outbreak of diseases among other inadequacies. While we are starving these individuals of food and other good things of life, we have also resorted to stealing and diverting whatever is donated to these IDPs.

The federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari have waved off all reports pointing to the hapless conditions of these IDPs. As of today, no IDP camp has been closed down, contrary to the electoral promise of the ruling party. Rather the federal government is creating polling units in these camps!

In 2017, Saudi Arabia donated 200 tonnes of dates to the IDPs for fasting during Ramadan. Instead of taking these dates to the various IDP camps, the officers in charge from the ministry of foreign affairs stole the dates and took it to the open market for sale. the media got hold of this information but the federal government have not brought anyone to book to face the consequences of such heinous crime to humanity.

About a year after the diversion of dates, we are confronted with pictures of 160,000 bags of rice donated by China to Nigeria but was left to rot at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) warehouse without taking it to the beneficiaries.

Why we have chosen to treat our IDPs in this manner speaks volumes about the level of irresponsibility in those we have at the helms of affairs in Nigeria. Apart from punishing these IDPs, we are sending a bad signal to other countries of the world as relating to the ability of our country to stay off corruption even when it involves the downtrodden. The long-term effect is that no serious country in the world will be interested in rendering help to us in our time of trouble.

As usual, under the so-called Change administration, no one will pay for this.

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