By Deborah Coker
Abuja, April 1, 2023
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Uhogua, near Benin, have called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to create a Polling unit in their camp.
The IDPs in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that this would protect them against thugs and allow them to exercise their franchise.
They were attacked by suspected political thugs at Oronsanye Primary School polling unit where they had gone to vote during the March 18, House of Assembly election in the state.
The IDPs are mainly from Borno and Adamawa states, running from insecurity in the country’s north east region.
Some of them come from Chibok, Biu, Askira Uba and Gwoza.
Suleman Ayuba, one of the IDPs told NAN that, with what happened on March 18, they were already feeling insecure.
“It was obvious that we were the target, because there were two polling units in the primary school, but the attack was carried out in ours.
“Our people were injured, we lost our phones and other valuables, yet till now, nobody in the state have come to sympathise with us after the attack unleashed on us.
“Majority of our people are still receiving treatment in health facilities outside the camp, even money to pay their hospital bills, we don’t have, and we are still looking for.”
Similarly, Philemon Emmanuel, another IDPs, called for another election to be conducted for the IDPs who were de-enfranchised during the attack.
According to him, it is not good that many of us were de-enfranchised by political thugs in spite of having our PVCs and candidates we wanted to vote for.
“We are Nigerians, though IDPs for no fault of ours. So politically, we have a right to join other Nigerians in deciding who we want to lead us.
“Government have been carrying out rerun in other places, so they should also consider this camp, in view of what happened at the polling unit during the state assembly election, so that our vote can count.”
Pastor Evelyn Omigie, Assistant Coordinator of the camp said that there was the urgent need for the federal government and INEC to create a polling unit in the camp.
According to her, we need a polling unit in line with the federal government directive, that polling units must be situated in all IDP camps across the country.
“I don’t know why these people should not be allowed to have their own polling unit. If we have one here, I think we wouldn’t have experienced what we did during the election.
“Also, in spite of what happened, and what we have expended on hospital bills, nobody has come to sympathise with either the victims or management of the camp.”
She called on the federal government to investigate the incident and unravel the perpetrators of the attack on the IDPs’ polling unit.
“We want them arrested, tried in court and jailed for their crimes against the IDPs.
“Imagine all the trauma they went through before. The sound of guns that God delivered them from, resurfaced again that day.
“So, the government should try as much as possible to bring the perpetrators to book,” she said.
Omigie also called on the government to support the camp financially so as to be able to treat the IDPs who sustained various degree of injuries and make them healthy again.