By Deborah Coker
Benin, Nov. 12, 2020 The management of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Edo State has appealed to Nigerians to help the 66 IDPs currently in tertiary institutions to achieve their educational ambitions.
Pastor Solomon Folorunsho, the coordinator of the camp, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Benin.
Folorunsho said that the appeal had become imperative as the IDPs in various academic disciplines and levels risked dropping out of school and their educational pursuits truncated upon resumption of academic activities in universities.
He explained that the camp management might not be able to fund the responsibilities as it had always done, because of the challenges facing it, which included paucity of funds and acute hunger among the IDPs.
According to him, the camp has never had it so bad since it changed status from the “Home for the Needy’’ to an IDP camp eight years ago.
The coordinator disclosed that the camp was able to assist the IDPs over the years through assistance from some few kind hearted Nigerians.
Folorunsho said that of the 66 IDPs in tertiary institutions, 37 are from Borno, nine from Delta, 13 from Edo, two from Adamawa, and one each from Enugu, Imo, Kogi, Taraba and Abia.
He also pointed out that 11 are studying medicine, eight in law, six doing nursing sciences, while others are studying pharmacy and other courses.
The coordinator further disclosed that the tuition and accommodation fee for the students ranged from N100,000 to N2 million per session, depending on the course of study and the institution.
Folorunsho, therefore, appealed to state governments and other well-meaning Nigerians to assist the students either through scholarship, bursary or sponsorship to lessen the burden on the management.
He said that at present 174 IDPs of the camp, who were successful at the last Joint Admission and Matriculation Board exams, were seeking admissions to various institutions of higher learning.
Meanwhile, some of the students who spoke with NAN said that the best help any individual or government could render to them was to assist them have a secured future through education.
They said this was because an educated person had unlimited opportunities and possibilities to succeed in life.
Mr Gideon Haruna, a 200 level Medicine/Surgery student from Gwoza, Borno, said that he believed that education was an invaluable tool in tackling so many societal vices.
He said, “if only those who wiped out my entire family in the name of being terrorists were educated, they would not have indulged in such extremism.’’
He noted that with what happened and still happening in the North East and other parts of the North, education was the way to go.
“I will appreciate assistance from Nigerians to help me and many others in the camp achieve our dreams,’’ he said.
Miss Rejoice Samaila, from Adamawa, currently studying Estate Management, said that except assistance came urgently to her and other undergraduates their fate might be sealed.
She said they could become school drop-outs, even though they had tried charting a future for themselves after their horrible experience in the hands of the insurgents in the North East.
Samaila said that they found succour, shelter, acceptance and peace in the IDP camp after escaping from the North East, adding that the management of the camp had always been there for them.
Amos Ishaku, another IDP from Gwoza, and a 300 level Chemical Engineering student said that with COVID-19 a lot of things had changed around the camp.
He disclosed that as an engineering student his tuition and accommodation for a session is N2 million.
Ishaku called on Borno State Government, as well as governments of other states, who had their indigenes in the camp, as well as other kind spirited individuals and corporate organisations to come to their aid.
“We have lost our homes; we have lost our families, our parents and loved ones.
“The least the governments and society can do for us is to help us achieve our educational pursuits so that we will be useful to not just ourselves but to the society.
“We will also be useful to those who may find themselves in the situation we find ourselves today,’’ he said.
By Deborah Coker