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Dogara: House May Create Committee on IDPs


*As Internal Displaced Persons in North East Hit 5 million

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has said that the number of Nigerians displaced by violence in the North East has reached 5 million.

The Speaker said contrary to official figures of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of 2.1 million, the actual number of people affected by Boko Haram insurgency may be close to five million.

He spoke when he received the head of the  United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Ms. Angel Dekonge Antangara in his office.

He said that the Committee on public safety and national intelligence will be mandated to handle issues relating to IDPs for now.

“If they are overwhelmed however; a substantive Committee for IDPs will be looked into. The House is ready to partner with all relevant bodies committed to ending the evil that produce refugees, IDPs and the events of Stateless,” he added.

Dogara disclosed that as a House, the issue of the IDPs is dear to them because they are Nigerians who fall within their representation.

“As an indigene of the North East, it is safe to say the number of IDPs in Nigeria can be up to 5 Million. The NHCR deals with symptoms of terrorism which is the displacement,” he said.

As Speaker,  Dogara said he has sponsored a motion calling the attention of the Executive to the plight of IDPs with the hope of working together to bring about a lasting solution through the engagement of International donor Conference for the plight of those in the North East.
He appealed for help from anywhere it can be gotten, even from bodies as UNHCR and said:

“Terrorism is global and if not dealt with; it will spill across borders such as the current refugee crisis facing Europe from Syria, Libya etc.”

On the issue of domesticating the resolutions of the refugee conventions, the Speaker said  the House will partner with the Senate to ensure that those important treaties and convention are ratified  through the relevant Committees soon.

Speaking earlier, Ms. Angel Dekonge Antangara told the Speaker that the office is providing solutions both locally and worldwide.

The UNHCR according to her, intervenes for people termed as Stateless or border less and that she is in Nigeria to look at the MOU UNHCR has with the country.

Nigeria has 2.1 Million IDPs (Nigerians), there is the Kampala convention of 2001 and enacted in 2009 which Nigeria played a pivotal role for the onvention and hosted meetings in 2006 and 2011, so that it could be ratified in 2012.

“I hope Nigeria will sustain its pioneer role in the security and resettlement of IDPs as well as Parliamentary input to sensitizing on the right of IDPs as human beings,” she stated.

Ms.  Antangara said that the existing draft from the IDPs convention should be domesticated and that  a committee should be set up to take care of refugees as well as IDPs.

“This issue warrants serious Parliamentary attention. UNHCR is ready to provide technical and even financial support to organize events to sensitize Members on the way forward in preventing and resetting IDPs when they occur,”
“UNHCR requires

Parliamentary involvement against Statelessness as this is a State which the UN continues to fight against. Again, the UNHCR is prepared to partner in creating an enlightening studies to prevent Statelessness especially in the Bakassi and other areas so they do not fall into Statelessness.”

On her part, the director general of the National Counc for Women Society (NCWD) Onyeka Onwenu, said the asociation between UNHCR and NCWD started with the world refugee day and the issues of girl child cannot be extricated from IDPs and refugees as women and girls are some of the most direct victims of the insurgents.


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