The 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 2 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 insurgency.
”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 remains very difficult. We need to act now,” the Minister said.