It was on a rainy Monday afternoon, the sight welcomed FOMBINATIMES’ team at mayo Belwa islmiyya IDPs camp was a bedlam of chaos, exactly what is expected of a school compound that shelters over two thousand displaced person.
There were people spread everywhere, there were women tending to cooking pots on temporary tripods, some suckling babies.
There were children moving about, some half naked despite the cold. There were also some elderly people lying huddled on the cold concrete floor of classroom verandahs.
over the last week, Bachama militiamen invaded several Fulani communities in Demsa and Mayo-Belwa local govt. areas in Adamawa state and the neighboring villages in Lau local govt. area of Taraba state displacing over five thousand persons.
scores of people were killed in the attacks, cattle and other domestic animals rustled, properties and valuables vandalized and many communities burnt down by the militiamen.
Directed to the office of the IDP camp authorities where FOMBINATIMES had a press session with the Mayo Belwa head of disaster management, Usman Dikko and the Red Cross divisional secretary, Umar Dan-Iya.
We were briefed of all the measures taken to cater for the IDPs which include security- with over 20 security personnel from police, civil defense, muslim council, and local vigilante patrolling the camp.
The Red Cross also disclosed the service they rendered in providing first aid to the injured, tackling health cases of two measles, few cases of fever, donating mosquito nets, sensitization on hygiene and ensuring environmental sanitation.
The Red Cross divisional secretary also mentioned two cases of childbirth at the camp, one case being twins.
After the session with the camp authorities, FOMBINATIMES went round to get an overview of the general welfare of the camp and its inhabitants.
Although the camp’s situation sounds good from the narratives of the officials, FOMBINATIMES can authoritatively report that the aid and relief materials given to these IDPs is grossly inadequate.
There were about 30-40 people per classroom, most of them are women and children.
FOMBINATIMES’ Hameedat joined a group of women sitting at a verandah of one classroom, enquiring about their security and well-being, hinting if they were sexually harassed or physically molested during the attack or in their stay here.
They answered to that in the negative, saying they sleep soundly at night except for the assault by mosquitoes.
A woman, named Fadi Shehu, told FOMBINATIMES that seven of her children are all sick and she confirmed no medical intervention reached them since her arrival.
“I have nowhere to go now, I don’t even know where my husband is, even if they tell us to leave I can’t, all my children are incapacitated by fever”. Lamented Fadi.
The case is however different for Deejah, who said she feels confined in the camp, “I just want to go out and find something to eat, the food is here but they refuse to share it (she pointed to sacks of foodstuffs piled inside) they only gave us little to feed the children”.
The agony that thwart Deejah to leave the camp is not only limited to lack of food, she added that “I can’t find my husband and 4 of my children; I have to go and find them”.
“All the women complained about how they have no clothes to wear, Fadimatu pointed to her 7 children with only trousers lying on the cold concrete”. Hameedat reports
“The situation is nothing to write home about, at long last the voices of the women rise to deafening clamor, each shouting her complains, one woman thrusting her baby at me to take him home with me, another pleading for food to cook for her kids.
Dejected, I left with a promise to report their story and tell the authorities concerned to tend to them.
But even as I left, I knew I made a futile promise.
Nothing can be enough for these people, whatever intervention given cannot suffice them, I knew what they need is not to be tended in the camp, like Deeja separated from her family, she will always feel in bondage at the camp.
They need immediate relief, but what they need more than that is to be resettled back to their various residence, what they need is for security to be deployed to their houses, for the areas to be evacuated of the bandits, for the perpetrators to be caught and brought to law, what they need is to go home and rebuild from the ashes and ruins.
It is their lands, their permanent residence, they are Fulani’s deeply rooted and well permanently settled in those lands, what they need more than temporary relief material Is security.
We can’t keep them in camp forever, there are over 5,000 of them internally displaced, the government cannot support them for long, but the government can take measures to help them get back on their feet again”.