A state lawmaker has accused the Borno State Government of politicising the treatment of the persons displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in the state.
Abdurrahman Terrab, who represents Bama, Gamboru-Ngala, Kalabalge Federal Constituency of Borno State made the allegation on Sunday at a press conference in the state capital, Maiduguri.
Mr. Terrab said most of his constituents that were forced to flee their communities due to the insurgency found themselves in different camps within Maiduguri, the state capital, where their feeding and welfare was determined by their support for the state government’s party, the All Progressives Congress, APC .
The allegation was, however, denied by the Borno State government who said the lawmaker was only playing the script of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in a bid to score electoral sympathy.
“We have it on record that Borno State government has been maltreating the IDPs (displaced persons) in the camps where they reside by using violent thugs to harass and beat them in order to threaten them to desist from supporting our humble selves and the PDP as a party,” the lawmaker said.
“It is also on record that our supporters who are in the IDPs camps are horrendously and inhumanly maltreated by the operators of the camp most of whom are appointees of the state government, because they show their support to our humble selves and the PDP.
“We have recorded several cases of outright dismissal from camps, refusal to give food, water and medication even to the children of our supporters asking them to call us to cater for them.”
The federal lawmaker also alleged that despite the prevailing hunger people face in the camps, the Borno State Government placed some kind of caveat banning the camp committees from accepting relief items like food, toiletries and beddings donated by PDP politicians in the state.
“It is also sad to note that, the situation in the camps especially those from Bama have been very poor especially as regards to nutrition and medicare. Worst of all, the operators have resolved to stop any kind of good gesture in the forms of food and sanitary items coming from our humble selves or the PDP as a party in order to provide succour to those in the camps.
“Some volunteer youth who help in the camps especially the NYSC were physically threatened by a senior member of the authorities to blackmail them and brand them as Boko Haram supporters if they show their support to the PDP,” he said.
He alleged that displaced persons from his local government who demonstrated staunch support for him and the PDP were being maimed and attacked by APC thugs, allegedly, at the instance of the state governor, Mr Kashim Shettima.
“It is on record that the recent incident of such politics of bitterness was unleashed on our supporters when our campaign sites opposite the GGSS Yerwa was vandalised by unscrupulous elements purportedly on the orders of the Executive Governor of Borno state, upon his arrival from Abuja, to be precise on Tuesday, 11th February 2015.
“These thugs who also claimed they were sponsored by the authorities of the Bama Local Government Area were in possession of real guns which they fired with the ammunition at our supporters who were around the vicinity and went ahead to destroy our posters and sign boards as well as causing injury to those who resisted the attacks,” Mr. Terab said.
Reacting to the lawmaker’s allegations, the State Commissioner for Information, Muhammed Bulamasaid, said the lawmaker was only playing the script of the PDP in the state.
“Borno State Government is surprised that an educated person like Terab has chosen to make very childish allegations that he knows are without basis simply because apparent defeat stares him on the face ahead of the March 28 rescheduled elections.
“It is surprising how a camp that has the active involvement of both the Borno State Emergency Management Agency, the National Emergency Management Agency that is under a PDP led Federal Government as well as security agencies deployed by the Federal Government can deny food to someone that is affiliated to the PDP which produced the Federal Government of Nigeria that controls NEMA and security agencies.
“There is the likelihood that Terab doesn’t know the composition of those that play roles in the affairs of all the camps. The Borno State Government established the camps and it runs it but of course with the active participation of NEMA and security agencies. Terab must have thought he could score cheap political blackmail out of ignorance or deliberately ignoring the facts”.
“From what we know, Terab is one of those representatives of Borno citizens who are opposed to IDPS being allowed to vote during elections. For instance, during a stakeholders meeting organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Abuja barely two months ago, Honourable Terab was the shock of all participants at that meeting, clearly opposed to IDPs taking part at the elections even when most members of his constituency have unfortunately been displaced and constitute a good percentage.
“If IDPs have problems, they should have spoken about them to NEMA, SEMA and security agencies who are there in all the camps.”