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Reporter’s Diary: The Unusual Faces At Abuja Durunmi IDPs Camp
- By: Maktoub Magazine
- September 16, 2016
I had arrived at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Durunmi, Abuja, at about 11:45am on Thursday to scout for newsworthy item and possibly speak with Chairman of the camp, Ibrahim Ahmudu, but was told he is out of town.
A young boy, 16, who resides in the camp, then directed me to the Secretary, Bala Yusuf.
Interestingly, it would be my first time of visiting a IDPs camp. I have only read and watch news report about IDPs on papers and television.
In December 2014, Durunmi IDPs camp was established to house displaced persons from Borno, Yobeand Adamawa. Presently, there are 2226 people in the camp comprising young and old men and women. The camp has 11 settlement phases scattered around Durunmi.
Getting at the camp, I took a tour round one of the 11 phases of the camp and my smitten curiosity led me to a voice entirely different from Hausa.
The camp is to house displaced persons from Borno, Yobe and Adamawa but what would two Igbo elders be doing in the camp?
Well, my insatiable quest ordered my legs to unravel the mystery.
Mrs Grace (not real name) and Mr Michael (not real name) had objected to me taking her picture and even declined I interview her.
I took another engaging approach to ask if she is also an IDP but swiftly remarked she is not one but also a ‘legal occupant of the land’. She explained to me that prior to the Boko Haram crisis, she has settled on the land with the permission of the owner.
Mrs Grace, who would rather than welcome my presence, paid more attention to the food she was cooking.
She narrated further that she has been a food vendor in the community – sells food to the auto mechanics within the area. She however noted she goes back home every evening to her home after each day sales.
Mrs Grace continued that when the IDPs ran from their abode for a safer place, the landlord accommodated them and gave the permission to build make-shift houses on the land.
The beauty about this is the unity as diversity. Mrs Grace buttressed that there has been relative peace between her and her co-tenant. She described the IDPs as peace loving people and disclosed to me that there has never been an exchange of harsh words on each other.
As interesting as the conversation went, I couldn’t wait to eat Mrs Grace’s food.