Refugee Commission boss allegedly refurnishes office with N32m as IDPs die of hunger in Abuja camp

By AdvocateNews on 01/12/2021

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The Chairman of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Durmi camp, in Garki, Abuja city centre, Mr. Umaru Gola, has narrated to another online news platform, Daily Post, how the camp, which is just one of the many IDP centres in Abuja, has been burying at least one member of their IDPs community on weekly basis.

Mr. Gola said over 3,000 persons displaced by insurgency and bandits from the Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, who are quartered in the Durmi camp have been living in deplorable conditions, saying their members were dying of hunger, diseases, and other life-threatening factors.

This is even as media reports and a petition by concerned staff of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) alleged that the Honourable Federal Commissioner (HFC) of the agency, Mrs. Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, who was appointed in June this year, refurnished at the cost of N32 million the office of the HFC already furnished by her predecessor less than six months before her assumption of office.

Meanwhile, according to Mr. Gola, “Everybody has been left to face his or her fate; we are alive till today by the grace of God and the help of some good spirited Nigerians who come once in a while to donate items to the displaced persons.

“The young men among us are the ones trying to help us in most cases. They go out daily and engage in activities like commercial motorcycling just to help the situation but we bury some of them like twice in a week or sometimes once in a month due to road accidents.

“We have been left to struggle on our own. Most times, when there is a health challenge that is beyond us, we go to churches and mosques to beg for assistance.

 “Sometimes, when rich people visit us, we tell them our challenges, maybe about some persons in the hospital and they help us to settle the medical bills”, he stated.

Also, a parent and mother of five in the camp, Mrs. Hanatu, said that since they joined the IDPs in the camp in 2015, there has been no formal education for her children owing to lack of money.

“Our concern is how to even feed them not to talk of school yet. Since Boko Haram killed their father in 2015 and took over our village, in Borno, my children have not gone to any school.

“We don’t like the life we are living here today, our greatest prayer is that one day, we will return to our ancestral home and continue our lives there”, she said.

Another displaced person, who spoke to Daily Post on condition of anonymity, revealed that the poor environment has exposed them to several diseases in the camp.

He said, “We are dying slowly, this is not where human beings should live. Because of the environment as you can see, our people fall sick every day and some die due to lack of medical facilities. We want the government to help us. They should come and rescue us from this hardship.

“We are also Nigerians and we need to feel relevant in the society like others. No one would choose this kind of horrible life, it is the condition we found ourselves.”

Meanwhile, addressing the press last week based on complaints of staff of the Commission, the National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA), Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko said: “As an organisation dedicated to the human rights and wellbeing of Nigerians, we are particularly hurt by these unsavoury developments given the peculiar mandate of the NCFRMI, which is supposed to carter to the welfare of about the most vulnerable set of Nigerians and foreign nationals displaced by insurgency and other forms of insecurity, natural disasters, and communal clashes.

“On resumption of office in June 2021, Mrs. Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim allegedly awarded contract of N35 million for the furnishing of the office of the Honourable Federal Commissioner (HFC), which the previous HFC, Senator Bashir Lado, had reportedly tastefully renovated and refurnished less than five months before his redeployment to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP).

“We consider this a gross Misapplication of public funds, especially given that the Commission’s zonal offices are in total disrepair with staff lacking logistics and basic office furniture to carry out their legitimate duties. The Maiduguri, Enugu, Yola, Kano, Kebbi, and Ilorin zonal and field offices are seriously lacking in furniture and working tools. Gentlemen of the Fourth Estate of the Realm, kindly visit these offices to see for yourselves.

‘We gather that some staff even come to the office with their personal chairs from their homes. Yet, the FHC’s office was allegedly furnished at the cost of N32 million”.

Posted 01/12/2021 1:00:05 PM


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