Baby boom at Katsina IDP camps
Baby boom: 70 women pregnant, 48 babies delivered at Katsina IDP camps
“I kept running and crying alongside other women following an attack on our village.
The bandits ran after us with vigour. I kept falling and rising without looking back: it was in this process that labour set in. A little while later, I gave birth.
“The baby girl was wrapped in a rag by my fellow women and brought to my brother’s house in Faskari town where she was cleaned up and properly clothed, as well as myself. I arrived the town without shoes or Hijab.”
That was the story of Basira Sani from Hurumin Kogo village in Faskari Local Government Area, who is presently taking refuge at Faskari Model Primary School which is housing thousands of Internally Displaced Persons from the area following bandits’ attacks on their communities.
Basari said, “My son who used to take care of me died recently following the worsening leg injuries caused by a previous attack. I’m pained, I lost two other young ones as well from different attacks.
“We are in pains; to eat is difficult, the food is available but the thought of what we left behind and what we are passing through keeps hunting us and forcing one to lose appetite,” she added.
The spate of bandits’ attacks across some local government areas of the state has led to the establishment of three designated IDP camps at Batsari, Faskari and Dandume.
Several others are taking refuge with relations or in rented apartments at other towns perceived to be relatively safe.
Aside Basira, the Faskari camp has so far recorded 40 other births by different pregnant mothers who managed to escape several attacks. Some unlucky mothers could not make it, as they died during the attacks.
Presently, there are 70 pregnant women at the Faskari camp, at various stages of pregnancy. Also, four deliveries were each recorded at Dandume and Batsari camps.
Investigation showed that in each of the camps, a makeshift clinic is provided for the IDPs. However, most of the deliveries are done through traditional midwives and few community health workers on ground. Only few of the deliveries are moved to close by primary health care centres.
Another issue that could not be substantiated as at press time was immunisation for the new born babies as well as other children living in the camps.
According to Ali Lawal, one of the coordinators at Faskari camp, since May 19, when they arrived at the camp, government has been up and doing to ensure the well being of the IDPs.
“For the nursing mothers, we help them with baby clothes and other necessary items. We notify government the moment they put to bed and government supports them with whatever it can,” he said.
He said, “Every day, we cook five bags of rice and a bag of beans for lunch while dinner takes five bags of maize or guinea corn. For breakfast, we use two bags of millet for pap.”
Daily Trust Saturday reports that as at this week, there are 6,914 IDPs at the three designated camps with 3260 at Faskari; 3,611 at Dandume and 43 at Batsari.
The state’s commissioner for Sports and Social Development, Sani Danmali, who doubles as chairman committee on the IDPs, said government is doing everything possible to address the plight of the IDPs through the provision of basic needs like food and health care.
He said the number of those at the camp has reduced from 13,804 to 6,194 as many have returned home following return of peace to their villages.
Already, he said government has constituted a 12-member committee to supervise the distribution of relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Katsina.
According to him, though some of the victims have returned home, everyone would be captured and reached out to.
He said government is concerned over their plight and working round the clock to ensure their well being adding that “these materials to be distributed are from federal, state government, as well as well-spirited Nigerians.
“Each committee comprises of a member of our adhoc committee, the affected council’s district head and village heads, member of assembly and local government officials. It will be chaired by any of the adhoc committee members,” he said.
However, for Ramma, an IDP who relocated last month alongside many to Katsina, her relocation turned out to be a blessing as she got hooked up and remarried while at a makeshift camp.
Ramma, from Batsari village, met her now husband Kabir and the duo were married on June 7 at the palace of the district head of Batsari.
Both groom and bride said it was love at first sight. A mini wedding reception was held for them at the Batsari Camp.