The Murtala Muhammed Foundation (MMF), a non-profit organization founded in furtherance of the ideals of the late General Murtala Muhammed, a former Nigerian Head of State, has called for urgent support and action towards ameliorating the sufferings of persons displaced by Boko Haram insurgency living in various Internally-Displaced Persons camps across the country.
The Chief Executive Officer, MMF, Mrs. Aisha Oyebode, who made the call on Thursday said it was time for all Nigerians to rise up to the alarming humanitarian crisis unfolding at the IDP camp in Bama, Borno State.
She described as alarming the current humanitarian crisis at the IDP camps saying that those affected are suffering acute hunger and prolonged deprivation.
In her words, “Since the Boko Haram insurgency broke out in Nigeria in 2009, thousands of Nigerians rescued after the renewed efforts of the military are in dire difficulty.
Owing to the devastation and effect of the over seven-years of insurgency, the population of internally-displaced persons (IDPs) has risen significantly to unprecedented levels, 3.3 million, and chronic malnutrition with its attendant health challenges have spiked to unbearable levels amongst the young population in the various camps set-up for IDPs”.
Citing the recent discovery of 1,233 graves (including close to 500 which were said to contain children) by an international agency working in the IDP camp in Bama, Borno State, she said the situation attests to the serious national, social and food security issues aggravated by the inadequate response to an emergency situation.
Mrs. Oyebode added that with more than 410 babies born at the IDP camps in Borno and Adamawa states between August and September last year alone with about 68 per cent of the IDPs in the country estimated to be children, Nigeria risks future crisis if it fails to act now and properly resettle those currently displaced by activities of the terrorist group.
“The situation has reached a frightening dimension and efforts by federal and state governments are inadequate in providing the ocean of urgent intervention needed to restore normalcy and the required capacity to forge ahead.
It would be recalled that only recently the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, estimated that about N90 billion will be required for the implementation of the humanitarian response plan for the North-eastern part of Nigeria alone.
The agency affirmed that, “the people in the areas covered by the assessment are now facing emergency food security situation.”
The President himself had also recently noted that “displaced persons, currently seeking refuge at government owned camps, have been dying of malnutrition despite the billions of naira and materials provided by the federal, state governments, non-governmental organizations and private individuals”.
Therefore, we cannot rely on governments alone to provide required solutions to this horrendous situation” she said.
She emphasized the urgent need for comprehensive psycho-social support for all victims of the various disasters in the country, while also calling for support for the Nigerian troops as they carry on the arduous task of ensuring a safe route for deliveries of food items and materials.
Mrs Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode,
Chief Executive Officer