The Police Command in Edo says it has not received any complaint about the management of the Internally Displaced Persons Camp (IDP), run by the International Christian Centre (ICC). The Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Chidi Nwabuzor, said this on Friday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin against the backdrop of social reports on the center. Nwabuzor said that no complaint against the management of the center or their activities had ever been lodged by any individual or group at the command.
The center was among those accused of maltreatment of inmates who included victims of insurgency from the North East region of Nigeria. This follows recent discoveries of the illegal activities at some religious centers bordering on human rights abuses against inmates. The Coordinator of the center, Pst. Solomon Folorusho, in an interview with NAN on Friday, debunked such insinuations. He alleged that some persons want to instigate the government against the center and appealed to the masterminds to have a change of heart. He disclosed that the center operates in partnership with various security agencies whose operatives lives among the inmates of the center. He added that the hosting of the IDPs was not something the center planned for. “But when the crises happened in the North East, some friends who lived there and were affected reached out to the center and appealed that they wanted to come over as they would be safe here. “We wanted to be our brother’s keeper, we didn’t want to fold our arms, because Nigeria is one, so we felt we should render support to those who were in need and support the government efforts in trying to quench the trouble that is going on there.”
Folorunsho disclosed that there are 3,000 inmates in the center, adding that the center caters to them through supports from government, individuals and cooperate organizations. He also disclosed that the education facilities, which the center has opened to the host community, was tuition-free and presently had more than 3,000 pupils and students. Meanwhile, some of the inmates and workers who spoke with NAN said that strict discipline was a norm in the center. According to Mrs. Eunice Uzama, a nurse at the center, there is a 24-hour restriction between the female and males inmates, and there have never been cases of sexual harassment or even pregnancy. “To me, I feel the restrictions and discipline are too much. Everywhere and everything here is demarcated; male one side and female one side,” she said. Sunday Bitrus, an inmate from Borno and an SS 1 students, said the center serves as a home for him. He said that the center has taught him to be more disciplined and realize that in life strangers could become your family members when you have lost all. He said that given the opportunity, even after school he does not wish to return home as there was nothing or nobody to go home to. Helen Samson and Wichita Joseph, both inmates who have both been at the center for four years and completed their secondary education there, said they would remain there until they were done with their education. Joseph, however, said she would likely return to her state, Borno, but added that it would be after securing employment.