They have been called ‘Displaced Persons’, ‘Internally Displaced Persons’, ‘Homeless’, ‘Migrants’ ‘IDPs’ etc. and other derogatory names and what is it with giving things, people or situation names? In Nigeria, we are never short of names for an issue or a matter, neither do we come last in finding the Naija acronym for names. It is an inborn talent in us.
Well, let’s leave us and our name-giving abilities for now and deal with the main matter at hand. What happened? Why did our fellow Nigerian become an Internally Displaced Person? How did it all begin? Why did we let it get to this point?
Shhhhh…don’t be in a hurry to give me your intellectual answer just yet. I didn’t ask an exam question, but a rhetorical one. So save your breath, if I need answers, I know people to ask and ways of getting information that won’t be tailor-made according to the man-in-charge. Writing on “Nigeria IDP Figure Analysis”, IDMC say “As of April 2015, IDMC estimated that 1,538,982 people forced to flee their homes in Nigeria were still living in internal displacement. This figure includes people displaced as a result of brutal attacks by the Islamist armed group Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria, the government-led counterinsurgency operations against the group, ongoing inter-communal clashes and natural hazard-induced disasters. The increase in the first half of 2015 of the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Nigeria was due to ongoing violence in the north-east as well as the return of refugees who have not been able to settle back in their places of origin and are therefore considered as IDPs. The biggest rise in the number of IDPs was registered in Borno state, one of the three north-eastern states most affected by Boko Haram violence, followed by Adamawa and Yobe.”
Some States affected by these crises, communal clashes and other battles are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, Zamfara, Abuja (Federal Capital Territory), Kano and Kaduna. I’m not going to deal with figures here, but push us to review our behaviour towards this matter and put a call through to us to rise to action and do something. At this point, I would love to acknowledge Companies (like Peak), NEMA, Artistes (Nollywood & Musicians) and NGOs (like Angel4Life Foundation) that have single-handedly done something to relieve the IDPs and give them a sense of hope. You can be a part of this team. No need to re-invent the wheel.
Who can help? EVERYONE!
We need all hands to be on deck! They will need Monies, Medicals, Counselling, Training on how to re-integrate into society or live new lives.
We need to create and sustain more awareness about their plight on our platforms, through our films (Nollywood), via our songs (artistes), Blogs, Newspaper, TV stations, Newsrooms, #IDPs, in the Senate, our Communities etc.
We need to save as much lives as we can! And I know we can do this.
By the way, don’t start moaning already about the above figures because for all you know, it is more than that by this month. There have been multiple deaths and relocations to other states/neighbouring countries. But even in those temporary place of succour, these Nigerians are somewhat displaced. Is it easy to leave Borno and go to another State in Nigeria you have never been before, where you do not know anyone; not as if you went there for Youth Service, that way you can at least be sure of your monthly stipends. They have lost lives, good memories, present plans and what are we doing about their future hopes. Yes, we are tempted to think we are not directly affected and go on with our lives. Do we really succeed at living? Or the pretence.
Just asking (as usual) and please don’t answer me, put your money, clothes, gift items where your mouth is. Start with what you have, bug that CEO/MD friend of yours that can make things shake body, that Church or NGO that should preach Christ via showing love/care to our brethren in the North. Sound the alarm and lets hit the ground running and soon you will realise that the IDPs have actual names like Musa, Peter, Sarah, Amina etc. and they will no longer be figures to you – a number, but a person with needs that we can easily sort if we try a bit more.
I just stopped by this day to WAKE UP again! Peace♥
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