Nigeria: Jos displaced dread return
|Publisher||Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)|
|Publication Date||12 February 2010|
|Cite as||Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Nigeria: Jos displaced dread return, 12 February 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b7ba8d81e.html [accessed 20 September 2014]|
KANO, 12 February 2010 (IRIN) - Some 15,400 people who fled violence in the central Nigerian city of Jos remain displaced three weeks later and despite dire living conditions, many do not plan to return and rebuild their destroyed homes.
NGOs estimate that 6,900 displaced people (IDPs) are sheltering in makeshift camps in and around Jos, capital of Plateau state, while another 8,500 have fled to neighbouring Bauchi state, where the authorities are providing them with water and food.
"We don't have anywhere to go because our homes and what we possessed have been burnt. I don't think many of us want to go back and rebuild our homes because we think they will just be destroyed again," Sada Bilyaminu, who is displaced at Gangare secondary school in the Jos North neighbourhood, told IRIN.
"Even if we intend to go back to our homes we don't have the money to rebuild them," said Bilyaminu.
"We are in a dilemma. We can't go back to our homes and at the same time we can't stay here for the rest of our lives. We have to find places to stay."
IDPs are calling on the Plateau authorities to compensate them for their lost property so they can rebuild elsewhere.
Most of the Jos displaced are sheltering in mosques, schools, churches and military barracks. None of these facilities has adequate toilets or running water, making sanitation the biggest worry, said Awwalu Mohammed, head of Nigeria Red Cross in Jos. Water is delivered in tanks every few days, he said, but it is not sufficient.
"IDPs are left with no option but to defecate in the open which poses serious health risks to them, especially to children," Mohammed told IRIN.
The Nigerian Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, the National Emergency Management Agency and National Refugee Commission are providing relief materials to the displaced, alongside local NGOs the Stefanus Foundation and Jama'atu Nasril Islam. But the Red Cross's Mohammed said despite this help, conditions are "miserable" and there is not enough food, water or medicine to meet people's needs.
Mark Lipdo, programme coordinator of the Stefanus Foundation, told IRIN: "People are left to use whatever they can find around them for shelter and lavatories. There are no tents in the camps and some IDPs sleep in the open despite the cold weather."
Some 600 IDPs are sleeping in Farin Gada primary school in Jos North, vacating the premises in the morning so children can attend class, said Lipdo.
"Many of us sleep in the open with no mattresses, beddings or blankets despite the cold, due to the shortage of classrooms," said Halliru Musa.
The displaced children sleeping in the school cannot attend classes as their parents cannot afford to enrol them, said Lipdo.
School can be a normalizing environment after a trauma, said Mohammed of the Red Cross, but some children will need counselling in addition to help them move on after witnessing so much bloodshed. "We will try to intervene in this area in coming weeks," he told IRIN.