IDPs Reject Call to Return to their Communities in Niger

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Laleye Dipo in Minna

Those displaced as a result of the bandits’ attacks on their villages in Shiroro
Local Government Area of Niger State have rejected the call by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello for them to return to their communities.

The governor, who told the people to return to their ancestral homes when he visited the more than 2,000 displaced persons on Monday, said security had been beefed up in the council area and as such they should return and continue to live their normal lives.

However, a spokesman for the displaced people, who was injured in the attack on Kwaki village, Danjuma Tanko said they would not return to their villages because of insecurity, adding that they were not prepared to pass through similar experience.

“There was no security in the communities when the attacks were made. We are not ready to pass through another incident of bandits attacks,” Tanko said.

The governor however understood the apprehension of the IDPs, saying: “I have spoken to a few of them and I understand their fear. They are scared to go back home and I do not blame them. I do not blame them for being scared but I think we have sent enough troops to these communities to provide adequate security for the time being. We are doing our best to make sure they go back home, as we look at the comprehensive plan for providing more security.

“We will beef up security in the contiguous areas. Unfortunately, access to these areas is almost impossible because it is mostly mashy and rocky but we have been able to send security personnel there so that the local people can go back to their various homes.”

Contrary to an earlier statement by the government through the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet and Security Office of the Secretary to the Government, Alhaji Isah Ekan, to the effect that only 12 people died in the attack, Governor Bello said 37 people have been confirmed killed by the bandits, while 27 others were receiving treatment for various gunshot injuries.

“While going round the IDP camps, I saw a few with gunshot wounds. About 37 have been killed, 27 are still with gunshot wounds” he confirmed.

The Director of the State Primary Healthcare Centre in Shiroro, who heads the IDP Camp Clinic, Musa Idris Aliyu, said in the past one week, 513 patients have been treated, adding that the clinic has adequate stock of drugs even as relief materials have been delivered to the victims.

The acting Director General of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Abdullahi Tanko Zumba, said there are currently 2,004 persons in the IDP camp in Erena, adding that 24 injured persons are receiving treatment there.

He stated that the government has provided food and non-food items worth over N20 million for distribution to the IDPs.