[The Injustice Blog] It’s less than two months to May 2018, when are we returning IDPs to their communities?


November 25, 2016 Borno state Governor Mr Kashim Shettima while speaking to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) stated expressly that all IDP camps will be closed in the state on or before May 2017. According to him “We have reconstructed Bama by 25 per cent; my target is to reach 50 per cent by the end of this year and 75 per cent by first quarter of 2017. I want to close down all IDP camps latest May 29, 2017, because the IDP camps are becoming a huge problem on their own. If we allow the entrenchment of these IDP camps, they are pregnant with loads of challenges of early child marriage, prostitution, drug abuse, gangsterism. And we will be confronted with huge social challenges of an entitlement complex of people feeling that they are entitled to be catered for.”

Few years later, it is evident the Governor was being sarcastic with his statement as the IDP camps were not closed by May 2017, rather the deadline he gave was extended to May 2018 as the 2017 target was not feasible. As we approach May 2018, the impossibility of closing the camps is a stark reality as the state of things for the IDP’s and the Boko-Haram sect as a group has worsened tremendously.

Shettima made the 2016 statement at a time the APC led federal government were regaling Nigerians with the now debunked claims that Boko Haram had been “technically defeated” in the North East. At the moment, instead of closing down IDP camps in Borno and other North Eastern states, it is rather increasing as more camps are being opened with Boko-Haram becoming more offensive in their attacks with the recent being the abduction of 110 girls in Dapchi, Yobe state and the recent attacks on Rann which claimed the lives of some humanitarian aid workers.

Also, the government at the Federal and state level has curiously turned around to further perpetuate the IDP’s in their poor conditions in the camp by allowing politics influence the decisions the government made regarding IDP’s. Instead of providing funding and rehabilitation efforts to return IDP’s to their communities, the government is instead focused entirely on the 2019 elections. As recently reported, INEC has opened polling units in some IDP camps in the North East while continuous voters registration exercise is going on.

This is a clear indication that Government had the intention to shutdown these camps for the IDP’s to return back home. The registration by INEC has shown the political class are ready to make cheap political gains at the expense of these individuals. Shettima’s insistence on making claims he has not backed with prerequisite action proves like much of the new dispensation, he is incompetent and should not be allowed to in charge of the lives of others.

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