Chris Steven, Abuja
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has
appealed to Nigerians, especially those who have the wherewithal, to
complement the efforts of the government by assisting the thousands of
Nigerians who have been displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.
”With over two million people displaced, mostly in the North-east, the
scale of the crisis is enormous and far beyond what the government
alone can handle,” said the Minister, who on Saturday visited a camp
for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Bama, one of the most
affected towns in Borno state, the epicentre of the Boko Haram
”This is why I am appealing to Nigerians to assist in whatever form.
We are aware that some individuals and groups have already taken it
upon themselves to provide succour to the IDPs by digging boreholes,
providing clothing, bedding, medicines, foodstuffs and other things
needed to alleviate their suffering.
”But what I saw at the IDP camp in Bama brought to the fore the
enormity of the problems faced by our less fortunate compatriots,
especially in the area of shelter and medical facilities, hence this
appeal to Nigerians, individually and collectively, as well as to
local and international NGOs
”Many of the IDPs, especially the young children, are in dire need of
medical attention, shelter and clothing. Most are at the mercy of the
elements. We must be our brother’s keeper by assisting these
unfortunate victims of a senseless war,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the situation at the camps was particularly
daunting for women and children, as well as old men and women – the
usual victims of a war they know little or nothing about.
He said the appeal for assistance to the IDPs is aimed at
complementing the efforts of the Borno State Government, the Federal
Government and the military, which have gone a long way in making life
less miserable for the IDPs.
”The Federal Government has in place a Victims Support Fund for those
affected by the war; the Borno State Government has established a
Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement to
spearhead massive reconstruction works so the IDPs can gradually
return to their homes, while the military
has taken on the humanitarian burden alongside its already enormous
challenge of winning the war and the peace.
”Also, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is
collaborating with the states in the North-east, the UN system, the
Red Cross and the faith-based organizations to provide temporary
shelters and care for the IDPs. Yet the situation in the camps remain
very difficult. We need to act now,” the Minister said.