“They Want to Send Us Away” – Kaduna IDPs Complain to Pastor Buru
“I shed tears for Kaduna Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs),” lamented Pastor Yohanna Buru of Church of Christ Evangelical Intercessory Fellowship Ministry, Sabon Tasha, Kaduna South.
Buru disclosed this in a New Year assessment interview with The Union at the end of an interactive forum with journalists in Kaduna NUJ. Excerpts by Our Correspondent, Achadu Gabriel:
- I gathered you have people have doing quite a lot in Kaduna, including assisting IDPs in the State. Can you expatiate?
From last year, I was the first person that went to Rigasa to see their camp. I went with my members; we gave them food, cloths, toilet rolls, both perishable and non-perishable; I even cook food and give them some money even though I don’t like to talk about it as a Christian. I went to the second camp and did the same thing before NEMA came. And when they came, they asked of me, and I took them there because I was the first person to lead them there and they thanked me.
I was also at Badarawa and Kudenden. I went back to the Rigasa again. I’ve been to Badarawa twice and Barkalau. I went to Badarawa this year to support them with blankets and sucks material because of cold. This is what we have been doing over the years till now. We are planning to go back to see who are educated to train them on skill acquisitions and those who have some hand work. So, by the special grace of God we are doing these things.
- What are their major challenges that you know when you went there?
There are many of them. First and foremost is the issue of no food, accommodation, health. I proposed we are going back to assist them on these in a week or two. Financially, they are lacking. They are really suffering. They need money for them to buy what they want to buy because they are helpless. They need where to stay. About 5-10 matured people leaving in the same room – it’s un-Islamic and unfair. They need food and medical assistance, but it seems nobody cares about them. When I went to Badarawa I shed tears. One woman was running from here-and-there looking for where to deliver her baby. You could see how she was shivering because of cold, lack of food and hunger.
- Any support from host state government for the IDPs?
They told us that, apart from what NEMA did there, they have not really gotten any support from host government. Some complain that government wants to send them away from Kaduna, which they told us. I’m not sure whether it is true, but if it is true then, they are not fair to them. It can happen to any of us.
They should take care of them even if they are not going to give them all that they need; at least, they need their support. That is why government is there. They voted for them for change. Let the change be positive, not negative. Our governor is an intelligent person and accommodative. If they cannot get camp for them, why can’t they give them money to rent house or a proper camp until when things are over? They told me specifically that nobody is assisting them. No governor has assisted them, only individuals and NGOs.
- Are the IDPs all indigenes of Kaduna or from outside state?
No, they are not from Kaduna state; almost all of them. I don’t think there is anyone from Kaduna. Many of them are from Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, most especially Maiduguri. There was mixture of Christians and Muslims from the family there. By their Trademarks you could see that they are from Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States. Even if they are not indigenes of Kaduna state, why can’t they help them? What if it happens to Kaduna indigenes to somewhere? So, government should take care of them in camp.
- What is their number like?
I met 2-10 in Badarawa, one in Barakalau, 2 in Kudenden and one in Sabon Tasha, but those ones went to Abuja. All of them, we gave them something to help them, which we can afford. People have been promising today and tomorrow but never redeem it. Some IDPs even refuse to be identified; even if you are there for them except you get the right person who take you there and show you. Some say they are tired of this or that, that wants to see them because even if they come and call them, they don’t assist them with anything. If you don’t have anything you don’t need to go there.
- If you are asked to call for support, what kind of things would you ask for?
Come with something that will help them from depending on people to avoid social vices among them; something that will establish then, so they cannot become criminals to other people tomorrow.
On whether the IDPs comprise of nomadic Fulanis, an officer at the National Commission for Nomadic Education, Kaduna, declined comment. An insider, however, said nomadic Fulanis were among the displaced.