In a heart-wrenching incident, a building housing Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) within a camp in Borno State collapsed, resulting in a reported seven fatalities and leaving two others with various degrees of injuries. The victims were among those displaced from their homes by the ongoing terrorist activities in the northeastern region of the country.
The calamity unfolded on the evening of August 28, 2023, at the IDP camp located in Monguno, approximately 135 kilometers (85 miles) from the regional capital, Maiduguri. The incident was precipitated by relentless torrential rains that had battered the area the preceding day.
An anti-jihadist militia leader, Musa Kaka, expressed, “Seven people were killed in (the) incident, and two others were injured and presently in the hospital.” These tragic events underscore the dangers faced by those already grappling with displacement and insecurity.
Monguno, currently home to numerous IDPs who sought refuge from their towns and villages due to the menacing jihadist insurgency, has provided temporary shelter for thousands. These displaced individuals live in precarious conditions within makeshift camps, shielded by both military and militia personnel.
The ill-fated incident transpired within a secondary school that had been converted into an IDP camp. With approximately 5,000 occupants occupying classrooms, the compromised building had already been weakened by a prior fire outbreak. Regrettably, the prolonged downpour on August 27 proved to be the proverbial last straw, causing the structure’s collapse. Bello Adamu, another member of the local militia, concurred, stating that the building’s previous vulnerabilities combined with the intense rainfall led to the tragic outcome.
Tragically, the victims of this disaster were laid to rest on August 29, 2023. Ahmad Babangida, a resident who attended the somber ceremony, revealed that his friend’s son was among the deceased, while his wife sustained a fractured leg and is currently undergoing treatment at a local hospital.
The distressing incident serves as a stark reminder of the recurring issue of building collapses in Nigeria, a nation with a heavy toll of such tragedies. Sub-standard construction materials, negligence, and inadequate enforcement of construction regulations have been cited as contributing factors.
In light of this catastrophe, renewed attention must be directed towards the safety and resilience of structures within IDP camps, as well as broader efforts to uphold construction standards nationwide. Ensuring the well-being of displaced individuals demands vigilant oversight, adherence to regulations, and an unyielding commitment to safeguarding lives and property.