…calls for deliberate planning by government to check displaced persons
By ABUBAKAR IBRAHIM, Abuja
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has stated that violence across the country must be put to an end if the crisis of internally displaced persons is to be contained.
In a statement signed by his spokesman Turaki Hassan, he stated this on Wednesday when he received a delegation from the National Commission For Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons led by its federal commissioner, Hajiya Hadiza Kangiwa in the National Assembly.
He told the delegation, “On the part of the House, we believe in permanent solutions.
There is this challenge that we need to tame the tide of violence that resulted in the displacement in the first place. I guess that is the biggest challenge we are facing. If we are able to resolve that and they go back to their communities, then we would have depopulated the camps.”
Dogara noted that until the issue of Boko Haram insurgency is no longer viewed as a regional problem but treated with the same national gloves with which Niger Delta militancy was addressed, the solution may not be near.
The speaker explained that in view of the recent challenges in the world which have presented cases of challenges of authority and other forms of rebellion, it has become imperative for the government to be proactive to issues related to addressing displaced persons who are affected by such crisis by making adequate preparation for catering to their needs.
Dogara said, “Whether we like it or not, the problem of refugees and internally displaced persons are problems that we cannot just wish away. The world is changing in a fashion or in a manner that no one could have predicted. Some of those things we thought were traditionally impossible for Nigerians to do; in those days we used to say no Nigerian could blow himself up but we’ve come to say that they are a lot of our citizens who are motivated to embark on such missions.
Calling for the commission to be proactive, he noted that “If care is not taken, it is a problem which we may be stuck in for quite some time. That therefore calls for deliberate planning and not just adhoc measures on the part of government, because if we resort to emergency situations that we alluded to; it is only when the thing happens to that we begin to think about what we intend to do, then that will not take us anywhere.”
The speaker also recounted his experience during his visit to an IDP camp in the FCT and encouraged the agency to provide basic facilities to such camps such as schools to provide basic education, health services to provide at least maternity services and portable water.
While urging the commission to begin profiling and issuance of identification cards to IDPs, he said, “I don’t know who is in charge of processing who is an IDP because you can’t really identify who an IDP is but in other countries, I know that they are processed, identified and profiled and even ID cards given, but I don’t know if that the case with Nigeria.”
Earlier, Hajiya Kangiwa commended the National Assembly for its efforts at providing durable solutions to the issue of IDPs and refugees in the country, while advocating for the adopting of measures that will decongest the camps.
The national commissioner said, “We are very encouraged by the way the National Assembly; Senate and the House are approaching this durable solutions thing. By now, all of us have come to realise that displacement issue is not all about emergency.”
She also commended the principal officers for thir commitment, while commending the speaker for his oversight trips to the camps which gave him first hand knowledge of what’s on ground.
“Everybody is aware by now that camps are not solutions to the problem of refugees and internally displaced persons; state governments, federal governments, everybody. We have developed a number of strategies at approaching the displacement, especially solutions in the short term, in the middle term and the long term,” she informed the speaker.