By – Dotun Roy
If I choose to be passive and indifferent and act as though nothing happened, particularly about the bombing of the IDPs camp in Borno State, then I would be worse than a hypocrite. This is because anyone who has been following my blogposts can attest to the fact that I have been on the vanguard advocating for the welfare, security and most importantly the re-integration of the Internally Displaced Nigerians since they were first dispatched to various camps across the country in 2013.
I cannot remember the number of narratives that I have personally churned out on my blog, granted countless radio interviews, TV interviews, and shared columns in the dailies as well as magazines about these special Nigerian citizens. In all these my intentions and opinions were misjudged. That notwithstanding I am not done yet with the advocacy!
Until the lives and rights of the IDPs in Nigeria are secured and re-integrated back into the society, so that they can lead their lives like every other Nigerian I will not stop blogging about them. Until the authorities see to it that the rehabilitation of these IDPs becomes one of the top priorities I will not put my opinions on hold.
To be frank, such costly mistake on the part of the Nigerian Airforce was completely absurd. Coming from those who are charged with securing the territory and citizens, which includes these helpless IDPs, and considering the huge figure that is often earmarked for Defence in the annual budget, it is quite unprofessional. It is indeed bizarre that such loss even came at a time in our country where everything seems to be out of control.
Already we have plethora of troubles and impending dangers hovering around the political and socio-economic terrain of the country. Where does one even begin from? Is it the bloodbath in southern Kaduna that has left hundreds dead and more injured, or the increased exchange rate, or is it the hike in prices of commodity in the marketplace? Believe me, as a nation it is as though we are sitting on a keg of gunpower that may soon explode.
It is also quite disheartening that up until now, we are yet to ascertain the actual figures of the charred corpses of the victims killed as a result of the, should I call it miscalculated bombing by the men of the Nigerian Airforce.
Several unreliable sources have been churning out inaccurate figures between 100 to 150 dead and 50 to 75 injured, but one can only imagine the level of devastation such mishap have brought upon the people who are only just trying to get over the horror of watching their families and properties destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgents in the North East.
Another awful truth that quite a lot of Nigerians often shy away from is the fact the current figure of Nigerian IDPs is more than the population of two African nations. Close to 7 million Nigerian IDPs scattered across the nation and along the borders of neighbouring African states.
Nigeria as a country must sit up and confront this demon (by making the protection of lives and properties, as well as the welfare of her citizens her number one priority) before attempting to help other neighbouring states. I would not want to imagine that a time would come when living in Nigeria as a Nigerian would be considered a crime.
Although our country have had her fair share of brain-drain due to the lack of sustainable development, endemic corruption, ethno-tribal prejudice, religious fanaticism and lack of adequate welfare scheme for the citizenry, nevertheless it is time the country stands up so as to avert this impending doom that continues to stare us in the face. MA
Dotun Roy is an investigative journalist and a development blogger. He is the founder of www.dotunroy.com, a development driven news website, and also a co-founder of the Abuja Charity Carnival for the IDPs. www.abujacharitycarnival.org.ng. You can follow him on Twitter @dotunroy, Facebook at www.facebook.com/oladotun.roy, or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Instagram: DotunRoy; Mobile: +2348034858005