Controversy trails reported death of 50 children from Cholera in Taraba refugee camp

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Over 300 hundred children are at severe risk of infection.

Controversy is brewing in Taraba State, North-Central Nigeria, following reported outbreak of measles and cholera believed to have killed 50 children in a refugee camp.

The camp, situated in an abandoned uncompleted healthcare centre in Bali Local Government headquarters hosts thousands of Tiv people displaced by internecine warfare between the Tiv and Fulani herdsmen.

The camp’s spokesperson, Emmanuel Kegh, said apart from the 50 children already affected by the outbreak, over 300 hundred others were at severe risk of infection.

He therefore called on the government and relevant agencies and organisations to step up response mechanism to contend the epidemics.

Mr. Kegh said before the outbreak of cholera and measles, over 20 inmates mostly children and pregnant women had died due to hunger, malnutrition and the dehumanizing conditions in the camp.

He said, “The situation here is dire. We have lost 50 children already and more may still die unless something is done urgently.

“We appeal to the acting governor and international organisations to come to our aid. We have very little to eat and no medications when we are sick.”

Mr. Kegh said the state government was paying lip service to the welfare of over 10,000 persons who were displaced in the Bali Local Government Area alone.

Continuing, he said, “Life here in the camp can simply be described as hell on earth. We are not used living on peoples’ goodwill. We are farmers and we are used to feeding very well.

“It is not a funny experience seeing your children dying of hunger. When we first came in here around March, SEMA came and gave us relief materials and later NEMA and people from the Defence headquarters.”

Several months after the relief materials were exhausted, he said no further assistance has been extended to them.

Currently, he said Fulani cattle breeders have taken over their homes and were feeding their families and animals from the farms left behind by Tiv indigenes.

Mr. Kegh, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to urgently set up a panel to investigate the crisis, which he said has led to the death of thousands of Tiv people in the state.

An inmate, Confort Ivase, lamented that apart from the outbreak of epidemics at the camp, the people are going through psychological trauma following the inhuman treatment they experienced from their neighbours.

She begged the government and humanitarian organisations in the country to visit the camp to witness the deplorable condition the refugees were subjected to.

But the state Commissioner for Health, Oliver Wubon, said there has been no outbreak of measles or cholera in any part of the state.

In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Wubon said there has been no outbreak of any disease in any part of the state.

He noted that the alleged outbreak of measles and cholera in Bali Local Government Area was a rumour that cannot be substantiated.

According to him, such outbreaks are first reported by disease surveillance notification officers attached to every health facility in the state.

Mr. Wubon said, “The disease surveillance notification officers in every health facility in the state have a format for reporting the outbreak of any disease based on WHO standard.

“Where there are three cases of a similar disease which is beyond normal occurrence, they are expected to see it as an alert that something serious could be happening.

“When such cases are observed, the officers note the cases down in a form and forward it the WHO, the ministry of health and directorate of primary healthcare in the bureau for local government and chieftaincy affairs.”

He insisted that the state has an ongoing disease surveillance system but noted that no report has been received to indicate an outbreak of epidemic.

Mr. Wubon said he had been in touch with the director of primary healthcare in the state, who he said made contacts with relevant field officers.

“We have no report of any outbreak or occurrence of a disease beyond the normal in any part of the state during the last one week. Not even in Bali Local Government Area.

“When the rumour of this disease outbreak came to me, I immediately got in touch with the director of primary healthcare in the state and he detailed an epidemiologist to get in touch the relevant health officials in Bali and the allegation was refuted,” he said.


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  • Otile

    I am glad nobody is going to blame the President for this. The independence celebration brings change of heart for good in 9ja. It is hoped that people will be positive and no more negative comments or insults to the President. Happy Independence to everybody.

  • Adegboyega Amos

    What a waste of time and space. You can tell this story to kids at bed time. Buhari has been working relentlessly while the legislative arms of the government have taken multiple recesses and nothing done. We know who is serious and who is not. We know who is initiating a change and who is not. We know who is corrupt and who is not. We who wants to turn the senate and house of reps into social clubs and who does not. We know who still wants to plunder the economy and who does not. ……

  • Ekwekwe

    Bia nwoke m, nwa Uzoatu, I am sick and tired of laughing. I cannot read any language, body language included. Asked to read the body language of angel POM makes me sick and tired because angels do not have bodies. I might as well go and get for myself an Abuja court affidavit to get by the sickening task of reading the body language of a man emitting a dizzying dose of Fulani perfume.

  • Joe igbokwe

    MAXIM UZOATU, WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM? ARE YOU AMONG THE VAST PREPONDERANCE OF IGBO WHO SOWED ALL THEIR SEEDS FOR JONATHAN AND THE MAN LOST THE ELECTION WOEFULLY? YOU HAVE BEEN WRITING THIS NONESENSE FOR A WHILE AND WHEN NOBODY CAUTIONED YOU THOUGHT YOU ARE WINNING THE HATE PROJECT. MAXIM PLEASE LISTEN: PMB IS THOUSANDS OF MILE AHEAD OF MOST OF US AND THIS SCURRILOUS DRIVEL CANNOT HELP YOU. FIND A BETTER THING TO DO . THE INVESTMENT MOST OF YOU MADE IN JONATHAN HAS BEEN AN UNMITIGATED DISASTER AND A USELESS VENTURE. YOU ARE STILL ANGRY BUT THERE IS NOTHING ANYBODY CAN DO ABOUT IT. STOP CALLING PRESIDENT BUHARI NAMES AND WAIT TILL 2019 TO TAKE A BETTER POLITICAL DECISION. UNTIL YOU TELL ME HOW MANY VOTES YOU GAVE PMB YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO CALL HIM NAMES. STOP SULKING AND WHINNING AND WAIT FOR 2019 or 2023 TO GET IT RIGHT.

    • titanium

      Joe…how many times wld you be advise that writing in block letters makes it difficult to read you. Anyway, nice work Maxim…Osu like igbokwe who laugh and whined while his people where been packed like sardine and deported from within their country 3am in an unholy hour would never understand such concept as ‘onemanocracy’. He reminds me of the case of the middlemen benefiting from ‘the master’ while majority continued to wallow in suffering during the Trans-Atlantic era.  ‎History will judge you at the appropriate time.

  • tundemash

    It is better than govt. of the rogues, for the rogues, by a Cl0wn Prince of Rogues from Otuoke.

  • Elias James

    Maxim, thanks for the chuckle that your piece caused. Sha, next time, submit or post a photo that shows that you are sober. Was akpeteshi on sale where you wrote this piece from? I still dey laff o ! (ala OBJ)

  • Pause

    Why is this piece not posted in all Internet news platform? Thank you for spreading the truth.