Humanitarian crisis in North East: A review


Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has joined the universal calls for global powers to consider supporting this country, now in its most hour of need, against the Boko Haram insurgency which has progressively become a monumental disaster of unimaginable proportions. He argued that quick intervention of foreign powers has become absolutely necessary since the insurgency has lingered for almost seven years without any appreciable sign of termination. The inability of the authorities and the intensified military campaigns to rout out the insurgents did not yield any desired result, instead it had always taken a critical turn for the worst, putting the lives of millions of people in the three affected states at greater risk.

Atiku’s entreaties are quite pertinent and appropriate, especially as some Western powers had promised to assist Nigeria in many ways possible to free young Chibok High School girls abducted by the insurgents, in April this year, and to also lend a hand in bringing the Boko Haram menace to an abrupt end. Although some of these countries, notably France and America, have mobilized to actualize their offer, nothing tangible came out of that, expect two summit conferences of the countries bordering Nigeria in May and September this year, which did not help much in assuaging factors responsible for the lingering unrest while the Chibok maidens continued to languish in anguishing anxiety in the hands of their callous abductors.
Atiku must be extremely concerned with that disconcerting development which warranted an absolute need for foreign support, because the insurgents have overrun Mubi local government area and are threatening his hometown of Kojoli, situated in that troubled vicinity.

Just before the disastrous occupation of Mubi town which served as the commercial hub of the adjoining towns and villages, it serves as a safe heaven for the teeming refugees whose disturbing influx from occupied, neighboring territories had caused a considerable humanitarian crisis which calls for urgent intervention to avert serious situation that could cause widespread suffering and even death to the unfortunate victims.
It is, however, unfortunate that the situation was as bad as it had been in the three North-eastern states. Thousands of people had to flee their homes leaving their valuable properties and endangered livestock behind, or at the mercy of advancing militants.

They did not know where they were heading to and did not also have any faint idea about their livelihood and what lies in store for them at their new destination. That had been the pathetic situation into which the Boko Haram has thrown the peaceful, law abiding and extremely enterprising people of the North-east. Unfortunately, what started as minor conflict has now developed into a full blown warfare, consuming the greater parts of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

Yola, the glorious capital of Adamawa State is now being threatened by the advancing Boko Haram fighters and the occupants of the town are living with their hearts in their mouths, fearing the repeat of tragedies that visited the vulnerable towns of Gwoza and Mubi. Many families are now scattered, eking out an austere existence in bushes and farmsteads offered them by sympathetic folks.   No fewer than 390 children are feared missing with the escalation of attacks on major towns in Adamawa since Wednesday last week.  In fact the camp for the internally displaced persons in Adamawa has swollen with refugees, both men and women, old and young, from the troubled parts of the state.

As at last Monday more than 1300 distressed persons have been registered in that camp where nine pregnant women have delivered bouncing babies.
The Adamawa Displaced Persons Camp is now a sorry sight where desperate Nigerians live in absolute squalor, want and misery. Although the effort of government agencies such as NEMA and Refugees Commission to accommodate and cater for the troubled and anxious persons is being regularly supplemented by various organizations and individuals, yet a lot still remains to be done to broadly alleviate their destitution.

Some of them, especially the extremely hysterical mothers of the upset children, have been calling for humanitarian assistance from the difficulties they encounter as a result of unrelenting attacks on their homes and villages. Some mothers in Adamawa State have deserted their homes leaving the young behind in search for food and succor. Others are now wandering in the bushes without any inkling about other members of their families. The rest are left with the children to stroll aimlessly among the bushes and shrubs for safety; many of them without shoes, unconcerned about the dangers they may encounter from vicious animals, dangerous creatures and poisonous snakes.

Those who survived had swollen legs as a result of long distance trekking on empty stomach and could not eat even after reaching their destinations.
In fact what obtains now in the North-east, and especially in Adamawa Sate, is a sad interpretation of the deteriorated situation occasioned by the uncontrolled activities of the insurgents. If these are left unchecked the unrests will spread, like bush fire, to other parts of the country and nowhere will be safe enough to run to because the militants have an upper hand.



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