Commission seeks policy, laws to address plights of IDPs in N’East

By Wahab Akanji, Abuja

The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced persons (NCFRMI) has demanded for a national policy on IDPs and a law to facilitate implementation of the Kampala Convention.

Acting Federal Commissioner of the commission, Mrs Margaret Essien, made this known on Monday in Abuja., saying, “The absence of such frameworks as a means of clearly defining roles and responsibilities has and will continue to hamper humanitarian and development efforts to mitigate the effects of internal displacement.

“They are also essential to a holistic approach in supporting the search for durable solutions and in preparing for and preventing future displacement.’’

The Kampala Convention, adopted in October 2009, is a treaty of the African Union that addresses internal displacement caused by armed conflict, natural disasters and large-scale development projects in Africa.

According to her, the Federal Government began a process of developing a national policy for the protection of internally displaced persons in 2006 but has twice been revised the draft in 2009 and 2012.

Essien underscored the need for monitoring and evaluation of implementation of both the policy and the legislative instrument domesticating the Kampala Convention in Nigeria when both documents come onto force.

“First, increasing violence, which often stems from competition for access to political power must be checked. Socio-economic and political imbalances, injustices and inequities across the federation is also a major concern.”

She observed that the role of armed insurgent groups as new agents in forcing people to flee from their places of residence had become significant.

This trend, she said, was evident especially in areas where government security forces had inadequate capacity to combat such groups.

Essien noted that since January 2012, thousands of IDPs and families had been split with women and children fleeing to safer areas outside the troubled north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

She also commented on the adoption of the National Migration Policy (NMP) on May 13, 2015, by the the Federal Executive Council.

She said that it was one of the key achievements of IOM’s ongoing 10th European Union-funded project tagged “Promoting Better Management of Migration in Nigeria”.

She said that the NMP and its plan of action, provide an appropriate legal framework for monitoring and regulating internal and international migration, proper collection and dissemination of migration data.

The acting commissioner explained that it also addresses issues relating to Diaspora mobilisation, border management, decent treatment of migrants and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

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