Insurgency in Nigeria: Focus less on IDP camps – Zulum tells Refugee Commission

Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, has asked that interventions from the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons focus on creating permanent resettlement houses for displaced persons as against investing on government controlled IDP camps.

The governor made the appeal on Wednesday in Maiduguri while hosting Senator Basheer Lado Garba Mohammed, the federal commissioner in charge of the refugee commission who led a delegation that included a representative of Qatar Foundation.

Zulum said while the state will continue to provide and coordinate donor humanitarian interventions for the welfare of civilians affected, it is time to move from the phase of proliferation of IDP camps to stabilizing displaced persons by resettling them in permanent houses and providing them with means of livelihoods in safe areas.

Zulum said: “We are happy with all your interventions. However, we will request that you do not focus on IDP camps but rather on stabilization for the IDPs and by that, I mean contributing in the construction of re-settlement houses which can be allocated to households as their permanent places to live and we then provide them with means of livelihoods to sustain themselves.

“As a government, we are moving from the phase of enhancing IDP camps to resettlement. By resettlement, I do not mean having to go and build houses elsewhere, the houses could be near the IDP camps, we will provide the land.”

The Governor also said his administration has created an agency for the coordination of all humanitarian donors and development activities in the state for the purpose of streamlining so as to stop duplications and give policy direction in which case, the state government will take lead in determining its priorities and policy direction.

Basheer, in his response, said Qatar Foundation, a charity and development platform, was interested in building a resettlement camp hence it required a land to be allocated by the state government to which Zulum gave commitment.

The federal commissioner revealed that his commission had trained a number of displaced persons on vocational skills and established some businesses for them.

According to the United Nations (UN), the insurgency in Nigeria has claimed the lives of about 30,000 civilians since 2009 and devastated entire communities, villages and towns across the most-affected states

“We have to pay attention to the needs and rights of people, especially those of women and children, and support local organisations to play a more visible role in the response.

“The protracted crisis in the north-east is of matter to the entire country. We don’t want this crisis to last another 10 years,” said Ms. Josephine Habba, President of the Nigeria NGO Network on Humanitarian Development Initiative (NINGONET).

Nigeria’s humanitarian crisis remains among one of the most severe in the world with 7.1 million people in need of life-saving assistance and 1.8 million people uprooted from their homes – the vast majority of them women and children.

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