UPDATE: Protesting IDPs vacate Maiduguri highways as govt disbands feeding committee

Protesting IDPs

Hundreds of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, who blocked highways early Thursday to protest against poor feeding in their camps, have ended their demonstration.

They IDPs suspended their protest after the government disbanded its committee responsible for feeding the protesters.

The angry IDPs, mostly women and children had earlier mounted barricades of stones, sticks and tires which caused massive traffic jam along the Kano-Maiduguri highway which is 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 felt we deserve better treatment.”

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.

“So how could they tell us there is no food,” asked Maimuna Bukar, a mother of four. Each time the governor is to visit the camp they would rush down here to make things appear normal and no problems; but if the governor leaves we are left on our own. So we are tired of these cheating and wickedness”.

“We are not fighting with government; all we want is food to feed our family. If they cant give us food, let them let us go back to our villages instead of being left to be killed by hunger here,” she said.

The women, who had demonstrated their will to fight for their rights, sat on the floor daring anyone not pleased with their stance to force them to leave.

After about three hours, the state deputy governor, Usman Durkwa, accompanied by the state police commissioner, Demian Chukwu, arrived the scene to plead with the angry IDPs.

Having consulted with some leaders of the IDPs, the deputy governor announced that the camp feeding committee whom they had severally accused of mismanaging the feeding system, had been disbanded.

“We want to assure you that government’s foremost interest is to see that all of you are well taken care of; but since you are not happy with the conduct of the committee, we have hereby disbanded the committee and henceforth we shall supply you with food items directly to cook for your selves. There is no more kitchen feeding in the committee; we are now going to allow household feeding for you,” said the deputy governor.

The deputy governor also announced to the cheer of the IDPs that a truck of grains and other food items would be deployed to the camp before he left the premises.

With that announcement and assurances, the IDPs immediately vacated the highways.

Speaking to journalists, the deputy governor said “their grievance is that they are not satisfied with the central feeding system, and they have mentioned their problems to us which we felt they have a point, and we have decided to disband the central feeding system to allow them now cook their own food. We have ordered that a truck of grains should be supplied to the camp and we are happy that they have lawfully returned to the camp.

The IDPs have warned that henceforth they would not sit idle and lament in their camp again.

“This is just the beginning, anytime we noticed someone somewhere is shortchanging us or we are being made to suffer, we will come to the streets and show them our strength via peaceful protest,” said Adam Mallum.

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  • Otile

    Will somebody tell these people go home, that a beggar has no choice. Can they afford to feed themselves like Igbo people did after Nigerian soldiers stopped shooting at them? These people should be grateful for the much they are getting. Yeah, they now want to share in cash the $2.1Billion Buhari borrowed in their name. They don’t know whether Buhari still has that money or has shared it among his immediate relatives and good friends.

  • Tunde

    Well done people! I pray this discontent spreads to dislodge the National Assembly thieves soon!

  • FEMI A USA

    The more you are giving people hand-outs the more they rely on it without doing nothing to turn their lives around. They are all over Africa such as Somalia, Kenya, and S’ Sudan refused to move back to their villages and towns to start over for their lives. Mr. Kenyatta threated to close a Camp but to no vail. They love the freebies without ending in sight. Is it not easy to have gardens and farms? They need to realized that governments are not going to feed them for the rest of their lives. Your NLC is against the advice of the Governor Rocha Okorocha to do farm with 2 days of the work week in order lessen their suffering. Please keep blocking the Highway that will supply your needs; lazy minds.

  • kayode Olufade

    If the committee is the problem you just don’t disband them you prosecute them. It is because they know nothing will happen; possibly because of collusion with state govt staff, that is why they could do what theybdid regardless of the sufferings of the people

  • favourtalk

    That is a good news, this tell us about the attitude of nigerians been given opportunities to help the displaced but yet still want to enrich themsleves and starve millions

  • olowoyojoel

    the only solution to this problem is to quickly resettle them in their homestead. the should be given money , farm implements to start their lives again. artisans should be given instruments to start work.
    govt can’t feed them forever. those shortchanging them should be prosecuted

    • Otile

      Who did all these for Igbo people when Nigerian troops stopped shooting at them? Use your own resources to resettle your friends. They suffered abduction and rape from Boko Haram my foot.

  • thusspokez

    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.

    What a change to see the usually nonchalant Nigerians protested for change. The UN, NGO, etc., have all raised the issue of food meant for the IDPs going missing. There was even a shot out between the Nigerian Army ( who tried to steal food from warehouse) and the Nigeria Police (who tried to stop the latter). Meanwhile children are dying of hunger. It is about time, the people revolted to demand what is rightly theirs.