Wednesday, 6 September 2017

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Season of sorrow in Abuja IDP camps

This is not the best of times for inmates of Wasa camp, which houses over 5,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Waru ward of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Federal Capital Territory
(FCT). While residents of the nation’s capital joined Muslim faithful around the world to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Kabir festival, IDPs in Wasa camp were left out as they buried one of their own, little Miss Nana Mohammed.

In fact, the entire camp had been mourning since August 25, when Ismaila Mohammed, six-years old elder brother of Nana died. Both of them were victims of petrol fire which occurred in the camp two weeks earlier.
The late kids with their cousin, Rahama Buba and siblings, aged between two and six suffered severe burn when petrol fire gutted their abode in the camp.
Their father, Ahmadu Ali was not spared as doctors at the Trauma Centre of National Hospital, Abuja, battle to save him; two of his children; and niece, Rahama.
Trouble started when Ahmadu, who eked a living operating commercial motorcycle, popularly known as okada, returned home for the day, parked his motorcycle and went to the toilet.
In his absence, the children fiddle with the fuel hose of the motorbike and the dripping fuel ignited fire from where their mother was cooking.
Five of the children belonging to Ahmadu and his brother, Buba Ali, were already affected by the inferno, which engulfed the motorcycle before he ran out from the toilet on hearing the shouts of ‘fire, fire.’
He received serious burn in his bid to save them, which eventually landed him and three of the children in the hospital. But unfortunately, while the doctors tried to save them; the money was not there to pick the bills.
Daily Sun gathered that it was difficult for the recommended drugs to be provided for the fire victims. Not even the visit of the chairman of AMAC, Abdulahi Candido could change the situation as he had reportedly made a donation of N50,000 to the victims.
As at then, Ahmadu was said to have spent over N200,000 in medical bills contributed mainly by other inmates of the camp.
The Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFR), Hajiya Hadiza Kangiwa and officials of the Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had also reportedly visited the victims at the hospital.
Spokesman and Secretary of the Wasa IDPs camp, Usman Ibrahim said this year’s sallah celebrations meant nothing to the inmates of the camp.
Speaking to Daily Sun shortly after the burial of Nana at the cemetery within the camp, Saturday morning, Ibrahim said the loss was too much for them, especially the Alis, to bear.
He indicated that he would, after gathering himself back, communicate FEMA of the latest development, for the records.
The scribe also appealed to public-spirited individuals to come to the aid of the Alis, who he said, had left the hospital and returned to the camp due to their inability to pay medical bills.
Sorrowful tales have continued to emanate from the various IDP camps in the FCT. At least 10 children were confirmed dead in a diarrhoea outbreak in Wasa camp, November last year. 

Officials of the FCT Primary Healthcare Development Board had attributed the outbreak to a possibly contaminated stream where the children and other displaced persons drank from.

Prior to this period, two years old Nura Ali, an inmate of Durumi camp, Area 1, who suffered 30 per cent burn in August 2016, and was admitted at the Trauma Centre of National Hospital Abuja had been detained for the inability of his mother to pay about N300,000 bill.
When Daily Sun visited Ali at the hospital on October 1, his terribly disturbed mother, Fatima said the boy had been discharged since September 21, but they could not leave because the bill was yet to be settled.
The mother of three, who hails from Bama in Borno State, is one of the numerous women widowed by the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east.
Meanwhile, inmates of the Durumi camp at the weekend joined their kiths and kins in Wasa to mourn their dead children.
They raised the alarm that starvation was ravaging the camp and may cause severe harm to them if not contained.
Secretary of the Durumi camp, Bala Yusuf said inmates now find it difficult to feed, because donations from public-spirited people and organisations had dried up; adding that their effort to carry out farming activities this farming season was hampered by lack of money to procure seeds and other inputs, which according to him, were prohibitive.
 “You know that we were mainly farmers in our states; farming is the only thing we know how to do. But now, hunger is our biggest threat in Abuja. Many of us have gone to Nasarawa state and got land; we have even cleared them but we don’t have the money to buy seeds to plant.
“The price of bean seeds has really gone high and we don’t have seeds to plant this time around,” Yusuf stated.
He called on the FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello and his Agriculture and Rural Development counterpart, Chief Audu Ogbeh to bring succour to the IDPs in the FCT by providing them with farming inputs to forestall the imminent huger that may ravage the camps.


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