NPC, UNFPA worry over 1.5 million IDPs in Nigeria
AHEAD of the World Population Day, the National Population Commission (NPC) and the United Nations Population Fund has expressed concern over the plight of about 1.5 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) largely due to communal conflicts and insurgency in the North East.
Chairman of NPC, Eze Duruiheoma said at a briefing in Abuja to commemorate the 2015 World Population Day precisely on July 11 with theme on ‘Vulnerable population in emergencies’ that it was imperative to raise awareness on the plight of the vulnerable population.
He noted that “according to the National Emergency Management Agency, International Organisation of Migration and Displacement Tracking Matrix of April 2015, there are currently 1, 491, 607 IDPs in the North East and 167,789 Nigerians have also fled the North-East insurgency to take refuge in the neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon.”
Assistant Country Representative at the UNFPA, Osarentin Adonri stressed that recent reports show that at 2013, about 60 million people are in IDPs camps globally. Adonri expressed concern over the safety, health and psychological wellbeing of the most vulnerable at these camps especially children, women and the elderly as “IDPs camps are not the best to stay as heightened gender based violence and transferred aggression” exist.
He emphasized that the vulnerable population in emergencies is exposed to series of protection risks and threats such as forced labor by the insurgents, physical abuse and torture, extortion, abductions, theft, forced conscription and sexual and gender based violence as well as poor living conditions and debilitating poverty.
Duriheoma noted that the “United Nations High Commission for Refugees has classified the high risk population in emergencies with “heightened vulnerability” to include the new born, children (that are) separated and unaccompanied, orphans, adolescent girls and women (especially those in reproductive ages), who are exposed to sexual exploitation, violence, forced marriage and reproductive health related illnesses.
Others include “pregnant women, women with infants, persons with chronic diseases like HIV/AIDS or disability, those sexually abused. Another segment of the population that are of concern among the IDPs are the elderly.” The NPC chairman suggested deliverables in addressing the plight of vulnerable population to be collaboration between stakeholders including government, donor agencies and the private sector.