From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye and Uche Usim, Abuja
The Federal Government has disclosed that over two million Nigerians have been displaced as a result of insurgency, banditry, communal clashes amongst others.
Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Minister, Sadiya Umar Farouk, made the disclosure while on a thank you visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, for his support on the issues pertaining to persons with disabilities in this country.
Responding to a question on how many displaced persons were being attended to by government and the progress in rehabilitating them, she said: “As at today, we have over two million displaced persons in the country, ranging from those displaced by insurgency, armed banditry, communal clashes and so on and so forth.
“The mandate of the ministry is to provide effective communication of national and international humanitarian interventions, ensure strategic disaster education and response as well as to formulate and implement policies and programmes geared towards social protection and inclusion of our citizens.
“So, the ministry is doing its best to see that people who are displaced in this country are given the necessary support by way of supporting their livelihoods, rebuild their homes in areas of disasters and settling those who have fled their places seeking for refuge, provided their communities are safe for them to return. This is what we are working and we hope to achieve the desired result.”
On the purpose of the visit, Farouk, said: “Today is a very important day for us and the disability community. We are here on a thank you visit to Mr. President. First, for his support on the issues of persons with disabilities in this country.
“You may recall that in January 2019, Mr. President assented to the bill on the prohibition and discrimination against persons with disabilities in this country. That was the first milestone. Mr. President also graciously appointed the chairman, board members and the executive secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities.
“So, this is a visit to demonstrate our appreciation and our commitment to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
To combat smuggling, irregular migration and other trans-border crimes, Nigeria, Niger and Benin Republic have unveiled a tripartite security drill tagged Nigeria’s Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT).
The new outfit is a transformation of Operation Swift Response (OSR), a land border, multi-agency operation, which was launched in August 2019 and coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
Spokesman of Customs, Joseph Attah, who made the disclosure in a statement said that JBPT was coming at a time Nigeria was gradually reopening the land borders to facilitate regional trade.
“With the reopening of the borders for commercial activities, items such as parboiled rice, frozen chicken, illicit drugs, among others remain prohibited.
Attah quoted the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (retd) as applauding the efforts of the OSR team for their unflinching commitment to the national assignment, and urged them not to rest on their oars.
“The NSA further stated that the joint patrols would be adequately administered and charged the operatives to display a high level of professionalism during the operation with their neighbouring counterparts.
“This was because Nigeria has a widely acclaimed track record of security operations not just at the ECOWAS level, but the world at large”, he added.
Meanwhile, a year and four months into the operation, the smuggling of illicit drugs and proliferation of small arms and light weapons used to exacerbate violent extremism and terrorism in some parts of the country have been significantly curbed.
This is in addition to the quantum of seizures of prohibited items and numbers of arrested irregular migrants as the operation progresses.
As at January 5, 2021, 1,401 irregular migrants had been arrested while the total seizures were; 159,506.7-(50kg) bags of parboiled foreign rice; 10,447 bags of NPK fertilizer used for making explosives; 1,974 Vehicles; 895 motorcycles; 18,690 Jerrycans of vegetable oil, among other seized items.
The total monetary value of the apprehended items is about ₦12,538,333,545.50.