The Niger State Government has raised the alarm over the daily influx of internally displaced persons into the IDPs camps in no fewer than 11 out of the 25 local government areas of the state. It said there were no fewer than 29,774 IDPs in the various camps at the moment.
It noted that primary and secondary school premises being used as temporary camps for displaced persons had become overstretched, leading to the disruption of teaching and learning.
Speaking on Friday at the launch of the School to Kitchen Empowerment Items of the New-N-Power farmers, the state Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Ahmed Yumu, blamed insecurity for the situation.
He stated, “Niger State has the largest land mass in Nigeria and over 90 per cent of its people are farmers in view of the arable and well fertile land bestowed on us by God. The state has for so many years remained a force to reckon with when it comes to farming.
“All these are now becoming history, thanks to the incessant kidnappings, senseless killings, cattle rustling and others, which have forced our people from the rural areas to become internally displaced persons in many camps in 11 out of the 25 local governments we have in the state.
“The daily influx of internally displaced persons into various local government headquarters and towns by these displaced persons is so alarming and pathetic and the state government is now faced with providing all necessary amenities and food aside spending huge funds to fight the insecurity.”
He lamented the disruption to teaching in the schools used temporarily as camps, saying, “Our educational institutions, especially primary and secondary schools, which serve as temporary shelter for the displaced persons, are now overstretched and our children’s teaching and learning are being disrupted.”
He told the visiting Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, that IDPs in the state had risen to 29,774.
He added, “As it stands today, there are 29,774 internally displaced persons comprising 7,650 women, 3201 men and 11,113 out-of-school children with an additional 108 people with special needs.
“We have in the last eight days, based on the directives of our amiable Governor Umar Mohammed Bago embarked on the distribution of special palliatives to various IDPs in Mariga, Kontagora, Mashegu, Rijau, Rafi, Mokwa and Munya while government is adopting kinetic and non-kinetic approach in restoring peace in and around our communities.”
The commissioner lamented the lack of potable water, medical facilities, toilet facilities, conducive learning environment, amongst others as major challenges facing the IDPs.
He sought a “robust synergy and partnership with the federal ministry in the areas of restoration of sustained security, rehabilitation/integration of the IDPs back to their communities and provision of social amenities in such communities”.
The minister said steps would be taken to return the 11,000 displaced children to school, he she stressed that the parents of the children would only be entitled to palliatives when they allow their children to return to school.
She said the Federal Government in conjunction with UNICEF would ensure a conducive environment for the children’s education.