Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission said it has committed $1.7 million in the North East of Nigeria, to cater for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the region.
The ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne, who gave the figures in Abuja, yesterday, also said efforts are ongoing to address humanitarian challenges faced by other ECOWAS citizens within and outside the region.
The amount, according to Jagne, was spent on food items and rehabilitation of refugees and IDPs.
Speaking during celebration of World Refugee Day at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, Jagne said the ECOWAS commission is committed to preventing causes of displacement through its various political and diplomatic processes.
Jagne falso said the Commission is also committed to mitigating and alleviating the suffering of displaced populations in the ECOWAS space.
The commissioner equally added that the Commission is highly concerned about ECOWAS citizens, just as she said they will work with partners to resolve the situation of displaced persons, refugees and other vulnerable groups.
“The insurgency in North East Nigeria presently leaves almost two million people still displaced. There are also other pockets of internal displacements in the region either caused by conflict or disaster.
“In responding to these situations, the ECOWAS Commission has provided assistance to displaced population in the North East by sending food items worth $1 million and supporting the rehabilitation of Nigerian refugees and internally displaced persons with the $700,000,” Jagne said.
Also, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to ECOWAS and Nigeria, Jose Antonio Canhandula, said there are more IDPs in Nigeria than refugees.
He said there is the need to keep in mind that human beings should not be eternally dependent on humanitarian assistance, and also called for an end to human want.
“We need to integrate durable solutions to our collective strategy. We need to put an end to human want,” Canhandula said.
Speaking earlier, the Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Sadiya Umar Farouq, said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, in its efforts to address the plight of refugees in Nigeria, has commenced robust interventions geared towards safe and voluntary return of the refugees and internally displaced persons to their original place of abode.
“In this regard, a tripartite agreement was signed on March 2, 2017, between the Governments of Nigeria, Cameroun and UNHCR in Yaounde, Cameroun, and a tripartite commission was inaugurated,” he said.
Farouq also disclosed that the agreement is aimed at the voluntary repatriation of over 91,000 Nigerian refugees from Cameroun.