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3-Year-Old, Two Women Killed In Borno IDP Camp Inferno 

By: Gbenga Akingbule 

A 3-year-old girl, Yakura Babagana, and two other women were on Tuesday killed by a twin ravaging inferno that destroyed tents housing over 500 households in one of Borno Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps located on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the state capital.

Officials said the first fire outbreak occurred about 8 am, not long after another inferno swept through the camp around 2 pm which affected 3,600 persons.

Yakura, the only child of her Mother was burnt beyond recognition while she slept. Her mother, Hajja had gone to fetch firewood in a nearby bush while the father, Babagana, went to the farm when the fire outbreak occurred.

Hajj, Yakura's Mother
Hajja, Yakura’s Mother

The IDP camp nicknamed Customs IDP House  because of the dilapidated  facility owned by the Nigeria Customs is home to

14,250 IDPs from Dikwa, Konduga, and Mafa local government areas of the state.

Narrating their ordeals, the parents of late baby Yakura said they had left Yakura sleeping with four of her siblings watching over her while they quickly rush to seek what the family will have for dinner later at night.

“This is still shocking to us,  we’re deeply pained by the death of Yakura, but as  Muslims, we believe that Allah is aware of everything and we take solace in that fact and pray that Allah grants Yakura eternal rest.

“But going forward, we’re appealing to the state Governor, Babagana Zulum to expand the Customs IDP camp to avoid future fire disaster that may claim more lives,” noting that “our tents are too close to each other,” Babagana said.”

Yakura’s Father

The state government has already visited the scene of the incident and already responding to the plight of the affected IDPs as the State Emergency Management Agency ( SEMA) has ordered the immediate supply of relief materials to the displaced persons.

Also, the government is planning the establishment of mini fire Service Stations close to IDPs so as to ensure immediate response to fire outbreaks.

Director-General of SEMA, Hajiya Yabawa Kolo who rushed to the scene of the incident on Wednesday said the state government is saddened by the development and assured that measures are being taken to ease the plight of the IDPs

“The state government have ordered the immediate supply of food items and other relief materials to the affected persons.

“We will also meet with Fire Service Officials and other emergency organisations to see how best to decentralise fire stations in order have stations and units within the Metropolis where IDPs are located,” Kolo said.

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