NEMA assures UN of addressing IDPs plight
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has assured the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) that the agency would not relent in its efforts in addressing the plights of displaced persons.
Mr Sahad Bala, NEMA office Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs at Malkohi IDPs camp, made this known while receiving the UNHCR delegation at the camp in Yola, Adamawa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the delegation was led by Mr Volker Türk, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner on Protection.
Bala said that since the beginning of the insurgency in Nigeria, NEMA had always ensured protection and assistance to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Northeast and those across the country.
He said that as at now, more than 2.2million Nigerians have been displaced from their homes in villages and towns seeking refuge and protection in various camps and communities.
According to him, not less than 200,000 fled across the border into neighbouring Cameroon, Niger and Chad where they live in camps and host communities as refugees under the UN agency protection.
Türk, who interacted with the IDPs, also assured that the UN Refugee agency would continue to do all in its powers to help improve their lives.
Responding on behalf of the IDPs, Mr Idris Abdullai, thanked the agency for showing concern to their plights and making them to feel at home.
According to Abdullai, the Malkohi IDP settlement came to be after Boko Haram began attacking neighbouring villages of Gwoza in
Borno and eight people chose to relocate from Gwoza villages to settle in Malkohi.
“As soon as they got to Malkohi, they contacted the local leaders about their willingness to settle and farm here and their wish was granted which was the beginning of a new life for us.
“As the Boko Haram attacks intensified many more people left their villages and travelled to different parts of Nigeria.
“Many more fled their homes as Boko Haram attacks reached Gwoza,’’ Abdullahi explained.
He said they required assistance from Government and Non-Governmental Organisations.
He said that four boreholes were constructed by an NGO with two of them serving the IDP settlement while the two others are located at the Malkohi village.
He disclosed that they were more than 1,000 IDPs in the settlement, adding that they have not been attacked since they relocated to Malkohi.
“We are free to go farming because security operatives have taken a census of the IDPs here.
“IDPs in Malkohi settlement commended the efforts of UNHCR in providing shelter and none food items.
“We need more assistance especially in the area of health care, especially drugs for the sick, we need food, a land to showcase our crafts and money to buy materials for our crafts,” he said.
Besides, Abdullahi said that the Army Education Unit, the Adamawa Government, the Ministry of Education and Red Cross help with providing primary school education for the children in camps and also in the host community.
He prayed for the sustained humanitarian support of the agency in terms of shelter and non-food items.
The IDPs spokesman expressed their happiness and hopes to return home very soon.
The UNHCR Regional Representative to West Africa, Mrs Liz Ahua, one of the delegates, told NAN about her visit to Nigeria from Dakar in 2015.
Ahua said she was visiting Nigeria at the beginning of a new implementation year when most of the funding challenges for the Nigeria operations remain unresolved, with only 39 per cent of the required funding for last year attained.
She noted that displaced people in north-eastern Nigeria and across borders are in a very traumatic situation, they fear for their lives, and are at this point, unable to return to their homes.
Ahua, who also serve as Coordinator for the Nigeria Refugee Situation, said with the case of more refugees fleeing Nigeria, more financial help for the IDPs will be needed.
She said that adequate funding is crucial so that aid agencies can help improve the living conditions for refugees seeking asylum in other countries and respond to their protection needs.