By Amen Gajira
The Nigeria Early Recovery Initiative(NERI), a component of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office Transition Initiative (OTI) has donated relief materials to no fewer than 200 families affected by communal clashes in Southern Kaduna.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that (USAID/OTI-NERI) has been working to strengthen grassroots security and implement other developmental interventions in Southern Kaduna since 2020.
Presenting the items at the Mercy IDP camp in Zango Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Omokide Chikodi, programme manager of USAID/OTI-NERI, said the gesture was to cushion the hardship victims were facing.
“We are more into improving community security, but in the course of our work we had to do this when we realized the hardship these people are going through.
“We saw a lot of deprivation, we saw hunger and we saw lack in a lot of these communities and we thought to extend help to the camp and to these displaced persons many of whom have returned to their homes.
“We are supporting 200 families from six communities and supporting the camp as well with food items because we realized that many still depend on the camp for their feeding,” she added.
Chikodi said the agency had fixed streetlights and also rehabilitated the toilet blocks to improve the sanitary condition around the camp.
“Beyond giving these items, we have done streetlights to light up dark areas, and we are also rehabilitating toilet blocks, and also providing water in the camp.
“We are trying to improve the living condition of the camp just in case they come in during conflicts, they are able to stay in a habitable environment,” she said.
She further disclosed that the organisation had trained youths in Southern Kaduna on early warning signs for crisis as well as early response.
In his remarks, the camp coordinator, Rev. Gambo Waziri, thanked USAID/OTI-NERI for its intervention, noting that it could not have come at a better time.
According to him, though the vast majority of the IDPs had returned to their homes, many still look up to the camp for feeding.
One of the beneficiaries who spoke to NAN, Asmau Yusuf, was full of gratitude to USAID, who she said had made it possible for her to sleep on a mattress again.
“You have no idea how excited I am right now, knowing that I will be able to sleep on a mattress again after such a long time.
“I cannot thank the people at USAID enough for coming to our rescue. God bless them,” she said.
Another beneficiary, Lydia Fada, who lost her husband in a recent attack, and left to fend for five kids alone, appealed to government to help rebuild her house.
NAN reports that the items distributed included bags of semolina, sugar, salt, tomato paste, cartoons of spaghetti, maggi, detergent, mattresses and pillows among others.(NAN)