@Bukolasaraki’s Historical Visit To IDP Camps And Matters Arising By Wale Bakare
When the Senate president of the federal republic of Nigeria, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki touched down in Maiduguri the Borno State capital, not many envisaged that this will be more than the ‘usual’ visit with its characteristic political glamour often used to score cheap points at the expense of the unsuspecting host.
This visit was different, at the announcement of the trip to Borno many senators who were already fed up with the drama that engulfed the chambers for weeks were eager to get on the list to kick-start their legislative duties but unfortunately, Senator Bukola Saraki had to constitute an 8-man senate committee with priority given to Senators from the troubled states indicating an end of the previous era where issues on Northeast insurgency’s were treated with kids gloves by its leadership.
The Senate delegation were warmly received by the people of Borno and immediately, they proceeded to the Internally Displaced People’s camp across the state capital and the outcome was a renewed hope. The visit soon turned out remarkable being the first by the leadership of the senate since the Boko haram insurgency broke out in the northern part of the country in 2009.
Interestingly, the atmosphere was unusually electric as the sleepy town of Maiduguri once again came to live. The children numbering over 4,000 camped across various IDPs were displaced from their original habitat majorly from the neighboring countries as a result of the expanding activities of the terrorist sect. This historical visit became one of such these children were desirous of and denied by past government whose premises upon their long neglect holds no water.
Bukola Saraki and his delegation gave the children a renewed hope, the type that will bring an end to their plight while given them a sense of belonging in the larger society. The smiles on the adults and children’s faces, never seen before symbolises a flick of tranquility; they were at peace with themselves and wished that moment never came to an end. The video clips of the IDPs camp visit sums up the death of all fears; a pure delight to watch displaced children, grown men and mothers reunite in raw happiness.
While the visit may have ended, the true significant of the trip has started to yield much dividends. Asides the 10million naira donated personally by the Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki to some IDPs, there are already plans underway to enact laws that will assist the government and people of Borno State in the quest to crush the Boko Haram uprising. For many people, this will be seen as a first major genuine effort by the leadership of the green chamber to fully support the federal government to combat terror. It will be recalled that previous efforts by the past government to effectively fight boko haram were futile with cases of high profile corruption among the service chiefs.
As it stands, the population in IDP’s camp is exploding as more areas in the northeast becomes vulnerable to boko haram attacks thereby leading to an increase in out-of-school children who are within the schooling age. The move by the Senate presidency to support the welfare of displaced people is a major lifeline in the scheme of events, while more of such concerted efforts are being required by organizations and international bodies to help eliminate growing cases of abuse within the camps by co-displaced persons and security agents.
Wale Bakare writes from Lagos