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Unrelenting Attacks in Plateau State Leave Thousands of Women and Children Struggling for Survival

August 25, 2023

Plateau State, over the past three months, has been gripped by an unprecedented wave of attacks in four local governments—Mangu, Barkin-Ladi, Riyom, and Bokkos. The relentless violence has resulted in the tragic loss of nearly 400 lives and has pushed thousands into becoming internally displaced persons (IDPs), scattered across camps in the affected regions.

Beyond the loss of life, these attacks have inflicted substantial damage on properties, including homes and farmlands. The aftermath has forced surviving women and children to flee, leaving communities deserted. Young men have been disproportionately affected by the violence, leaving a grim reality where many women and children are left without husbands or fathers, struggling to make ends meet.

Startling statistics reveal that the Mangu Primary School alone is sheltering more than 18,000 IDPs. Similar camps are found in other affected areas, where those seeking refuge rely heavily on humanitarian assistance to survive.

In response to this dire situation, the Gideon and Funmi Para Mallam Peace Foundation has raised an alarm, drawing attention to the plight of these internally displaced persons. According to the foundation’s report, there are currently 18,751 IDPs spread across 14 camps. Among them are 2,081 widows and 6,066 orphans, as well as elderly individuals, teenagers, and adult orphans.

Rev. Danjuma Jonathan of the “Wake Up Call” group in Plateau State, expressed concern about the alarming rise in the number of widows and orphans due to the ongoing crisis. He emphasized the urgent need for intervention, especially for out-of-school children living in the IDP camps.

The conditions in these camps are described as deplorable, where widows have turned to menial jobs to support their families, often juggling responsibilities to care for elderly relatives and children who have been forced out of school.

A somber visit to an IDP camp at a primary school in Mangu Local Government Area exposed the harsh reality. Unsanitary conditions prevailed, with school-age children left to play aimlessly, while their mostly female parents grappled with their uncertain circumstances.

Voices of widows within the camp painted a heart-wrenching picture of loss and survival. Sifiana Daniel, a mother of four, recounted the brutal attack that claimed her husband’s life. Her tale mirrored those of many others who witnessed their loved ones being mercilessly killed by bandits.

The stories echo a plea for assistance from the state government, particularly as the next academic session approaches. These women yearn for stability and a chance to educate their children amidst the turmoil that has upended their lives.

The Mwaghavul Development Association (MDA) and human rights activist Dr. Gideon Ibrahim have both called for urgent government intervention, acknowledging the traumatizing impact on widows, orphans, and children. With homes destroyed and communities unsafe, their struggle for survival continues against overwhelming odds.

Source: Nigerian Tribune


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