By Temitope Ponle
Abuja – The National Association of Seadogs (NAS), also known as Pyrates Confraternity, has urged the Federal Government to register Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and ensure basic needs are made available to them.
The members of NAS, Sahara Deck, made the call during the group’s medical outreach to the IDPs camp in New Kuchingoro in Abuja.
Dr Joseph Oteri, a Medical Consultant with the group, said that the Federal Government needs to develop a holistic approach to address the basic needs of displaced persons.
Oteri emphasised that whatever relief was made available by the government to IDPs camps in the northeast should be replicated in camps in other parts of the country.
“This is a camp not registered by the Federal Government. The Government should take account of the IDP camps in the country and do a count of internally displaced persons because they are many.
“These are the ones you see. The southern part of the country, there is a place in Edo where more than 2,000 to 3,000 people are staying as IDPs and are all from the northeast.
“There is also one at Waru on the way to Apo, which is also not recognised by the Federal Government.
“If it were election, they would come here and ask them to vote but when it comes to support, they do not, which is very bad; they are Nigerians and should be given what is due them.”
He added that donations from civil societies and Nigerians were barely sufficient enough to cater for the needs of the displaced persons.
He, however, said the medical outreaches carried out by the association involved the state government in whatever state it was being carried out to encourage follow-up.
“When we were to do this mission, I made sure to get in touch with the primary healthcare agency of FCT. They are also using the opportunity of this mission to carry out some other interventions.
“Whatever data comes out of this place would be handed over to the FCT primary care agency for follow-up.
“We do not do any mission outside the primary healthcare centre so that the follow-up becomes part of the total package of the treatment for the people,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Mr Otthi Nwaka, Community Base Social Worker with NAS, said the aim of the outreach was to bring the government’s attention to the plight of displaced persons.
“What we are doing now will bring their situation to the attention of the government.
“This is so that they know people being internally displaced is supposed to be temporary; this is a transition camp and not where they should stay permanently,’’ he said.
Mr Stanley Nwodo, the Capoon (President) of the association, said the aim of the mission was also to intervene in the situation of the displaced persons.
“The essence of our mission here is to intervene and carry out what is called a humanistic ideal.
“A camp like this should have a basic medical facility to take care of health conditions of the displaced persons, but there is none that is we why intervened.”
Nwodo also urged the government and well-meaning Nigerians to continue to assist with the basic needs of the displaced persons.
Responding, Mr Luka Yathuma, the Camp’s Secretary, said the population of IDPs in the camp was about 1,724 adding the they had been there since 2014.
Yathuma said the majority of the displaced persons were from the state of Borno while a few others were from Adamawa and Yobe.
He said that though the camp was not registered, the Federal Government was aware of its existence.
“The Federal Government is aware that we are here. In 2014, the National Emergency Management Agency brought food items and some other relief materials.
“The camp is not registered but the government is aware of this camp.
“The Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives) and even the Vice President have visited this place and that means they are aware that we are here.”
He said “the government has a lot to do, basically the attention of the government is focused on the displaced persons camped in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe not in the FCT”.
Furthermore, he pointed out the needs of persons included healthcare, shelter, water, education and food.
“Because, we have a right to these basic needs; we lost everything (in the crisis) and we are asking the government to make these available because they are in the right position to provide them,’’ he said. (NAN)