UN Expresses Dissatisfaction with Volume of Assistance to Bama IDPs


Michael Olugbode
The United Nations is not satisfied with the volume of humanitarian assistance given to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Bama camp, Borno State, its Assistant Secretary General and regional humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel, Mr. Toby Lanzer said on Friday.

Lanza who was in Bama, 78km southeast of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, where he led a team of UN delegation and officials of the Borno State government to celebrate the 2016 world humanitarian day, said much more needed to be done for displaced persons.

Bama is one of the towns in Borno State that have suffered the worst of Boko Haram destructions. It gained global attention when over 100 persons were reported killed by starvation and malnutrition about three months ago.
The UN under-Secretary flew into Bama in a helicopter, a town that was virtually razed down by the terrorists after their occupation.

He said: “I am happy with what the United Nations and her partners have done to help the people of Bama. But I think we still have quite a road to travel.
“I am still not satisfied entirely and I will be calling for more assistance whether in demand for education, whether to make sure that all of your sisters and wives can give birth in a clean and safe environment; to make sure that people have roof over their heads or food in their stomachs or have access to their affairs so that they can help themselves.
“This is the aspiration of the United Nations and her partners. May they be able to share in this endeavour and to support you.”

It was no surprise that there was no infrastructure to house the displaced persons who had trooped into the town from recently liberated communities around Bama except a military controlled IDP camps, which is the town’s General Hospital.
The Borno State government had wanted to move the IDPs from the premises of the hospital into the rebuilt market complex, but the army commander in the town, had contrary view.
Commander of the 241 Battalion, Colonel Adamu Laka, said the IDPs had been provided with water and hygiene facilities as well as UN built schools for children.
He said he was worried that moving the IDPs may not be backed with resources for installation of water and hygiene facilities.

Lanza was conducted round the expansive camp to supervise the ongoing construction of tent homes being built by the UNHCR. 500 tent pavilions are being put in place for 500 families.
During the visit, thousands of children were seen learning in schools built by UNICEF.
Most of the kids who had no contact with western education before they got to the camp, were noticed reciting the Nigeria National Anthem and the 26 English alphabets, they even counted number 1 to 50.
Speaking on the essence of the World Humanitarian Day (WHD), Lanza said: “On August 19 every year is the day when the United Nations and its partner mark the world humanitarian day.

“It is the day in 2003 that the UN office in Baghdad, Iraq was attacked by a suicide bomber; we lost 20 of our colleagues in one strike. And I know that you here, across the northeast of Nigeria particularly in areas such as Bama have identified with the sufferings of the incident of that nature because of the horrors Boko Haram inflicted on the communities in Borno State.

“I am delighted to be back. I was here with the governor in the first week of April. The Bama I witnessed in April is not the Bama of today. I sense progress; I can see that the army has made Bama more stable and secured. I am happy with what the United Nations and her partners have done a little bit to help.”

Some of the high points of the visit to the camp were the distribution of clothing and shoes to children, men and women in the camp, a part of the N2 billion humanitarian aid donated by the charity foundation of Nigeria’s richest business man, Aliko Dangote.

Officials also seized the occasion to administer polio Vaccines to kids under the age of five.
Bama is less than 50km away from Gwoza which is one of the places an outbreak of the child crippling diseases was reported three weeks ago.