Displacement & MigrationNews

NEDC Inaugurates Sporting Competition To Help Young IDPs Overcome Trauma

In Borno state, youths in IDP camps often resort to substance abuse to deal with trauma and depression - a problem NEDC feels could be managed through sports.

The Northeast Development Commission  (NEDC) on Thursday Nov. 4, 2021, flagged off a sporting competition amongst youths in various camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) within Borno state, Northeast Nigeria. 

According to the federal government-owned crisis intervention commission, the sporting competition is to help them overcome trauma induced by the 12-year long Boko Haram crisis. 

In 2014, at the peak of the Boko Haram crisis, communities were forced to flee to refugee camps outside the country or IDP camps within the country. 

Without knowledge on how to deal with their trauma, many youths found themselves picking up vices like substance abuse, robbery and prostitution, as a means of escape.

Experts said most of the teenage IDPs as well as those in their early 20s today were kids that fled alongside their parents many years ago. 

To help the youth deal with their trauma and possible depression, the NEDC in collaboration with the Mustapha Sports Consult, a Maiduguri-based sporting outfit, idealised the need for sporting activities in IDP camps. 

According to NEDC’s Executive Director Humanitarian Affairs, Umar Musa-Yashi, under whose office the programming is being executed, “the sporting competition will be preceded by a workshop for school game masters who would also be drilled on modern ways of coaching different sporting activities.”

He said bringing sporting activities into the IDP camps is part of the core mandate humanitarian endeavours of the commission. 

The managing director and chief executive of NEDC, Alkali Goni, while speaking on the focus of the sporting activity, noted that “trauma, depression and emotional fatigue are killers to people’s ambition and destiny,” hence the need to deploy a non-medical approach to helping the youth navigate the challenges of psychosocial challenges they suffer as a result of exposure to conflict situations.      

The MD also said sports will play a greater role in bringing about cohesion amongst the IDPs especially in resolving the latent conflicts that may arise as they finally return to their communities.

“The NEDC believes that the combination of sports and developmental programmes will address a variety of needs such as peacebuilding, conflict resolution and social inclusion in the camps.” 

He said in the coming days and weeks, the IDPs will be competing amongst themselves in football, volleyball,                                                                                                                                                                       badminton and table tennis. Adding that while winners will be given trophies, all participating teams would also be given startup sporting kits for them to continue with the sports as they return to their communities. 

Deputy governor of Borno state, Umar Kadafur, who declared the event opened, commended the NEDC for organising the programme even as he noted that Borno state prioritises youth development and empowerment in its 10-year action plan and 25-year development plan projection.

The event was attended by representatives of all the security forces, the Borno state emergency management agency; which delivered goodwill messages that emphasise the imperatives of youth positive engagement as a panacea to peace and development. 


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Abdulkareem Haruna

Abdulkareem Haruna is a Nigerian journalist who has provided extensive coverage of the Lake Chad conflict in north-eastern Nigeria for over a decade. A graduate of English Language with a Diploma in Mass Communications. He previously worked as an assistant editor with Premium Times and Leadership Newspaper. Haruna has a strong knowledge of the Northeast and follows the trends in the region closely.

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