Nigeria has the largest number of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Africa, Country Director Action Aid Nigeria, Dr Husseini Abdu, has said.
“Currently we are the biggest Internally Displaced People,” said Dr Abdu after the opening ceremony of the Multi-sectoral Stakeholder consultation on the national Internally Displaced Persons Policy & and domestication of Kampala convention in Nigeria at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, “yet we are not at war if you look at the statistics across Africa. Most statistics that are bigger than ours are actually countries in war situations, and we are not.” He expressed hope that his organisation’s effort will push the Federal Government to take a better care of IDPs.
“ What informed that is the fact that Nigeria is currently experiencing a growing number of Internally Displaced People across the length and breadth of the country. And these internal displacements are caused by series of activities or problems including ethnic and religious violence, communal conflicts all over the country and natural disasters such as fire disasters or even air crash such as the one we had recently in Lagos where a number of people have actually been displaced.” “ But despite these increasing number, we don’t have as policy framework on how to respond to such situations on what the responsibility of the government actually is in actually responding to internal displacement.”
“ This process started about two years ago. We’ve been working with various agencies of government, National Commission for refugees, NEMA and other development agencies across the country.” “ We have done a proper analysis of Kampala declaration. We have developed a draft of that policy, passed the draft around. We will be discussing the draft today and tomorrow. We hope that at the end of the meeting tomorrow, we will have a very good draft that we can present to the government through the other government agencies and hoping that the Federal Executive Council will adopt that policy.”
“And then based on those policies we can begin to design implementation frameworks or even legislative backing that is required for effective implementation of the policy.” “ But Nigeria is in dire need of such policy because if we are to protect the rights of the people who internally displaced, if we have to commit the government to its responsibility of protecting lives and properties, then we need policies like this.”