Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
There was drama in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, yesterday, as hundreds of internally displaced persons (IDPs) took to the street to protest what they described as inhuman treatment by camp officials.
The IDPs mostly recently dislodged by Boko Haram from Baga and accommodated at the Teachers Camp in the heart of Maiduguri, lamented the ill-treatment, which have left many of them without basic needs and sleeping in the open.
They went about destroying political billboards and tearing off posters.
During the protest which lasted for about two hours, the protesters disturbed traffic flow and sang anti- All Progressives Congress (APC) songs.
It took the intervention of the police who shot canisters of teargas to disperse them from the road and allow traffic flow.
Responding to the reported allegation that the protest was as a result of starvation at the camp, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in a statement said IDPs had enough food and could not have protested starvation.
The statement by the Head of Media and Public Relations at NEMA, Sani Datti, said: “The attention of the management of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has been drawn to a media report of a protest by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri, Borno State, which was erroneously attributed to hunger in Teacher’s Village camp.”
He said: “For record and purpose of clarity, though there was protest by some IDPs living in Teachers Village Camp, Maiduguri, it was never caused by hunger or lack of food supplies.
“The protest was actually caused by interruption of profiling exercise of the IDPs by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who arrived the camp to extend their humanitarian support to complement the effort of partners. Consequently, some people outside made attempt to be enumerated and this prompted some IDPs in camp to chase them away and resulted in commotion and riot.”
He added that: “However, the situation has been immediately brought under control by the security operatives stationed at the camp and normalcy restored.
“It is on record that the National Emergency Management Agency has continued to provide food items monthly to the camps, IDPs in host community and liberated areas in Borno and Adamawa States. The last distribution at the Teachers Village camp was on 15th January, 2019 for all the household and was meant to last for a month.”