Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) over the weekend distributed relief materials to about 2,000 people in Kogi State who were rendered homeless as a result of recurrent floods that have ravaged their areas.
The local government areas that benefited from the aid are Bassa, Dekina and Ibaji, all flood-prone communities located along the banks of the River Niger.
The Federal Commissioner of the agency, Basheer Garba Mohammed, who presented the relief materials in Ayangba, said that the donation was meant to alleviate the sufferings of the displaced persons in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari who expanded the mandate of the agency to include providing reliefs to displaced persons especially at this time of national emergency occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘We are here today to distribute commodities to the IDPs in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has charged all government agencies in the humanitarian ecosystem to intensify support to vulnerable populations in these difficult times,’ the commissioner stated
According to him, ‘the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons was initially established by the National Commission for Refugees Act (1989) now Cap. N21 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to solely safeguard the interest and treatment of refugees.’
The Commission’s mandate was further expanded by Presidential Directives in 2002 and 2009 to additionally cover the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and the coordination of migration.
He said that the Commission now provides durable solutions to all refugees, returnees/deportees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, migrants and IDPs within the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
He said that the Commission was not unaware of the crises that have rocked the state and the unfortunate seasonal rise in displaced persons due to heavy rains and rising water levels in the River Niger which affects some communities located at the riverbank.
While commiserating with the state government over the lives lost as a result of the flooding, he said that as the government agency leading the movement towards the provision of durable solutions to Internally Displaced Persons, it is saddening to know that seasonal displacement caused by flooding is almost inevitable.
The federal commissioner promised continued support to the displaced persons in the state in the area of integrating them into the society to maintain a healthy and happy life.
‘We will continue to support the state in providing care and maintenance services as well as special interventions as the needs arise, which is partly why we are here today. Our ultimate aim is reintegration and resettlement for healthy, happy Nigerians.
‘The Commission has also intensified vocational training for the IDPs to make them self-dependent and has also designed prototype megacities for resettlement of those IDPs that cannot return home for obvious reasons,’ he added
Items distributed include bags of 50kg stone-free rice, bags of 100kg beans, ground maize, millet, palm oil, salt, tomato paste and Maggi as well as non-food items such as mats, blankets, detergents, bathing soaps, slippers, buckets, Vaseline, branded ceramic plates, cups, spoons, cooking pots and branded energy saving stoves and basic drugs and medical items.