Hungry IDPs on the rampage in Maiduguri •Borno govt stops central feeding system for IDPs

Borno State governor, Alhaji Kashim Shetima, addressing children in Bama IDP camp, while Alhaji Tijani Tumsa, representing General T.Y Danjuma, Chairman, Presidential Committee on North-East Intervention (PCNI) watches, at the World Humanitarian Day, on Thursday.

Hundreds of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, blocked highways early Thursday, to protest poor feeding in their camps.

They IDPs, later, in the evening, however, suspended their protest after the government disbanded its committee responsible for feeding them.

The angry IDPs, mostly women and children, had earlier mounted barricades of stones, sticks and tyres which caused massive traffic jam on the Kano-Maiduguri highway, the main entry point into the city.

The IDPs, who defied all pleas and entreaties from soldiers and police officials, insisted they would only remove the barricades and vacate the highway if the government supplied their food and attended to their other demands.

“We are being treated like slaves here in the camp,” said Zakari Modu, a 32-year-old man from Marte.

“We are only given a bag of rice to be shared among 15 people and that is to last for a month. Every three days, the feeding committee will come and make tea and give each household just a cup to share. This is inhuman and we feel we deserve better treatment,” he added

The IDPs said they were now better informed on the happenings of government.

They said they had been monitoring the news via radio receivers recently distributed to them by a new radio house that opened office in Maiduguri and they have details of all food allocation to Borno State.

Meanwhile, the Borno State government, on Thursday, stopped the central feeding system for IDPs in the 16 recognised camps in the state.

The decision of the government is sequel to a peaceful protest of some aggrieved IDPs on some major roads in Maiduguri, the state capital, over their feeding system.

The state deputy governor, Usman Durkwa, accompanied by the state police commissioner, Demian Chukwu, who was returning from another IDPs camp in the state capital, where he supervised their feeding, announced immediate suspension of the central feeding committee at the camp and the introduction of household feeding.

He said each family would, from this week, receive their ration of foodstuff from the state government and cook for  themselves rather than rely on the central feeding system in which some heartless people stole part of the day’s condiments home.

Addressing newsmen later, the deputy governor noted that the government had already moved trucks of food to the camp to jump-start  the household feeding,  which had already commenced in Bama.

He revealed that the introduction of household feeding in other IDP camps had been successful with nobody selling the products, but  given to the traumatised IDPS.

The deputy governor observed that the protesters took the government by surprise with their action, but thanked God  that the problem had been resolved with no casualty.

Durkwa, however, alleged that some politicians in the opposition might be behind the protest, adding that “we are not ruling out involvement of opposition politicians in the matter, because the first woman I called to speak with among the protesters was not even IDP in the camp.

She is from Maduganari in Maiduguri  and likewise the first youth I invited and the IDPs are Marte people. This means some people may be instigating them,” he said.