By Adeniyi Adedeji, Ilorin
A Senior lecturer at the University of Ilorin, Dr. Abiola Adimula, has called on the Federal Government to engage in pro-active steps that would prevent the uncontrollable spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in the Internally Displaced Persons, IDP, camps across Nigeria.
Dr. Adimula, of the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, CPSS, said that the government should with immediate effect direct relevant federal ministries and agencies to take steps to prevent the widespread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the IDP camps.
She noted in a position paper she presented at the university that IDP camps are mostly characterized by overcrowded populations, amidst severe infrastructure deficits.
She said, “Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, populations in Nigeria are dominated by poorly educated, rural, farm-folks, who are hardly able to achieve meaningful livelihoods in their new, mostly urban settlements.”
Pointing out that “the IDPs are typically impoverished and dependent on humanitarian aid for even their sustenance; and have very limited access to healthcare or Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, amenities as well,” Dr. Adimula lamented that IDPs in Nigeria were in very significant jeopardy.
She therefore suggested ways to curtail the spread of the disease to include immediate intervention to decongest the IDPs camps.
Adimula, a Law and Peace and Conflict Resolution scholar said this could be done across the country by relocating some IDPs to school buildings, which were presently not in use, because all school premises are currently empty, courtesy of the pupils and students who are under the stay-at-home order.
She added, “This can temporarily solve the problem of overcrowding in IDP camps that can fuel the COVID-19 infection”, adding that government aggresively needed to provide improved hygiene of clean water, soap, sanitizer and washing areas in large numbers.
According to the varsity don, this would be in addition to whatever health services that exist in the IDP camps, to ensure that the camps maintain good hygiene lifestyle this critical period.
She also called for the provision of food items to the IDPs, which she said is very key at this auspicious period.
While appealing to the Federal Government to ensure regular and consistent supply of palliative materials to enhance good upkeep that would prevent brewing of other conflicts in the camps, Dr. Adimula added that most of the people in the IDP camps are not engaged in any meaningful job while the few ones, who are engaged at all, were mostly into daily paid (menial) jobs.
She added, “Hunger, idleness, restriction to move around and the present lockdown can instigate violence and fuel insecurity and health challenges to Nigerian’s population.”