Internally Displaced Persons
By Abdallah el-Kurebe
The Federal Government has signed a tripartite agreement with the United Nations High Commission for Refuge (UNHCR) and the Republic of Cameroon for the return of Nigerian refugees, who fled for safety and were currently taking refuge in Cameroon, voluntarily and in a dignified manner.
The Director General (DG) of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Muhammad Sani Sidi disclosed this when an African Union Humanitarian Mission led by Dr. Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, the Political Affairs Commissioner, visited the Headquarters of the Agency at the weekend. He said there were about 80,000 displaced Nigerians currently taking refuge in Cameroon and that the federal government had been making efforts to cater for all their basic needs.
A statement signed by Sani Datti, Senior Information Officer of NEMA stated that the states and Federal government and states affected by the insurgency, United Nations Organisations, International Non-Governmental Organisations and the private sector had done a lot in the past four years to manage large numbers of IDPs in the North East, adding that “we have moved from the emergency response stage to recovery and resettlement of the IDPs.”
He urged the visiting Commissioner to use her good office as Commissioner Political Affairs of the African Union to seek for more assistance and support for the affected persons and the states. He thanked all the development partners, UN agencies, Civil Societies for working tirelessly in supporting the IDPs and Government of Nigeria.
Earlier, the Commissioner said they were in Nigeria to assess the situation of IDPs and to discuss areas of possible support. She added that displaced Nigerians were of concern to the African Union, as records available to AU indicate that there were about 13 million displaced persons and 3 million refugees on the continent.
She commended the efforts of the Nigerian government and the military for degrading and minimizing the activities of the insurgents in the northeast. She said with the large number of displaced persons living in the camps, the AU will continue to give more attention to the issues of displacement through interaction and focus on addressing the root causes of conflict in Africa.