From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, has while regretting the devastating effects of the recent flooding incidents that occurred throughout the nation, which resulted in the eviction of millions of people, the destruction of vast amounts of property, farmland, and infrastructure, reassured that this Administration remains fully committed to the welfare and well-being of all Nigerians at all times.
At the same time, he reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to helping all internally displaced persons by offering long-lasting solutions that guarantee their rehabilitation, reintegration, and resettlement back into society.
He gave the assurance at the National Day for Displaced Persons (IDPs) with the theme: “Journey so far, future of durable solutions.” It is a national celebration dedicated to celebrate people in the country who have been displaced by both man-made and natural disasters.
Represented by his Chief or Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, the President, while commending the resilience of the IDPs, recalled that it was the increasing incidence of forced displacement resulting from ethnic, religious, economic and boundary conflicts, natural and man-made disasters, and its attendant massive destruction to lives and property that compelled the Federal Government to embark on a search for durable solutions through the drafting and signing of a National Policy on Internally Displaced Persons by FEC in 2021.
He said the event is to raise awareness on the plight of IDPs in Nigeria by recognizing their courage and resilience while ensuring their participation in society and relevant decisions that affect them and promote their empowerment.
Buhari noted that this year’s celebration offers the opportunity as a nation to publicly and symbolically demonstrate “our solidarity with our brothers and sisters who have lost their livelihood, their homes and even their loved ones to displacement.”
Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Imaan Ibrahim, disclosed that the increasing effect of climate change and particularly the debilitating effect of flood across the country has resulted to about 40 percent increase in the figure of IDPs, bringing the number of displaced persons to about 5 million from 3.4 million as contained in 2021 Displacement Tracking Matrix carried out by (UNHCR) Matrix Index as well as the International Organization of Migration (IOM).
She said this has led to significant loss of many lives, properties and livelihood.
Speaking on the Commission’s Exit Camp Strategy, the National IDPs Policy, the implementation plan of the IDP Policy, the national action on durable solutions and domestication of the Kampala Convention, she said will support the drive towards the provision of durable solution.
She said: “you know that kind of problem we address is something that is reoccurring, hence the need for that coordinated approach. But what I will like to assure you is the commitment of the federal government to ensure that we work hand in hand with the POCs so that we can address all the issues of concerns and so that we can ensure their total rehabilitation, integration and resettlement. It’s work in progress, but we have a grip of the situation.”
She also lamented the compromise with the IDP camp management adding that her commission has a foolproof plan of exiting the camps which is going to be implemented in phases.
“What we find is that there’s a lot of compromise with camp Management. And over the years, we have been able to breed over dependence on government. And that’s not what any nation would like, you’d like to give them a hand up, not the hands down. So trust me it’s work in progress.
“You might not want to leave the company because over the years, they feel that they can be IDPs permanently. But no, we have got to be resolute that when incidents happen, people have their dreams, their goals, their aspirations, their desires intact, we help them to actualize it so that they will contribution to the society.
“We’re going to work hand in hand with these people. Yes, there are challenges but we have a foolproof plan for exiting camps and we are going to implemented in phases,” she added.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk, on her part regretted the devastating effects of the flood, saying: “It is a sad global phenomenon as a result of Climate change, which has also doubled the number of displaced persons Nationwide and globally. I want to reassure all Nigerians that the Federal Government is prepared to do everything possible to mitigate the impact of this natural disaster while providing succor to ensure that our citizens able to rebuild their lives.”
The highlight of the event was the conferment of awards to outstanding Nigerians among them is the ED/CEO, Dr Faisal Shuaib, an “Award of Recognition for providing Health Care to Persons of Concern during the COVID-19 pandemic through vaccination against the virus.”
According to the commission, the award is in recognition of his contributions towards ensuring that IDPs have equal access to COVID-19 vaccines and other health interventions in the various IDP camps in Nigeria.