16 December 2013

Nigeria: NEMA - 16,470 Displaced Nigerians Still Live in Refugee Camps

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Sunday revealed that about 16,470 internally displaced persons (IDP) are still living in refugee camps since the aftermath of the 2012 flooding in Nigeria.

NEMA Director General, Sani Sidi, made this disclosure in Geneva, Switzerland, during his presentation at the sixth dialogue of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), on protection challenges facing displaced persons.

The occasion, which was organised in collaboration with NEMA as part of its efforts to improve the management of the IDPs in the camps, also served as a training forum for trainers on humanitarian /IDP protection.

It was gathered that the number given of this IDPs in refugee camps were those officially registered, who presently live in various camps across several states in the country.

In a statement given to THISDAY by NEMA Senior Information Officer, Sani Datti, the DG during his presentation, said the displacement in the country was rather volatile.

He said: "At the peak of the 2012 flood disaster, as high as 2.3 million persons were displaced and took refuge in the camps which were spread across several states of the country. "Which was why we partnered non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations and government to train a total of 45 trainers."

While attributing the causes of the displacement to both natural and human-induced factors, Sidi identified recurring floods and drought as the major natural hazards.

He blamed the human-induced displacement factor on land use conflicts between pastoralists and sedentary farmers, ethno-religious crises and emerging terrorism.

To combat forced displacement, he said the federal government had developed a mechanism for disaster risk reduction, coordinated by NEMA.

"These are encapsulated in mechanisms, systems and procedures for administering to the needs of IDPs before, during and after displacement.

"That is why we need the support of the UNHCR to strengthen the existing mechanism and instrument for a more coordinated IDP management in Nigeria.

"Of course, our country representative to the UNHCR has been discussing with the agency and relevant stakeholders to initiate a programme for better registration and profiling. Also, to strengthen institutional capacity for IDP management, establishment of an elaborate legal framework and entrenchment of durable solution," he added.

Meanwhile, as part of efforts to ameliorate their sufferings, it was gathered that NEMA at the weekend delivered relief materials donated by a group of Nigerians living in the United Kingdom to the persons affected by the flood in Kogi State. The relief assistance to the flood victims were received on behalf of the state government by the Special Adviser on Special Duties, Mr. Ogu Johnson Ohekutu.

While commending the gesture, he assured the agency that the materials would be distributed to the intended beneficiaries accordingly.

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