By Emmanuel Adesuji, Abuja.
The Senate on Tuesday has revealed that over two million persons have been internally displaced from Adamawa, Borno and Yobe due to increase in the activities of the insurgent group Boko Haram in the north east part of the country.
Also, the Upper Chamber agreed to donate N20 Million to two million internal displaced people in the North east due to activities of Boko-haram.
The decision of the Senate was sequel to a motion sponsored by the Deputy Senate Leader Abdul Ningi on the plight of the internal displaced persons in the north east calling for the attention of international community on issue of internally displaced people from North-East.
According to Lingi, the country has over two million people internally displaced persons from Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. These internally displaced persons have found refuge in Bauchi, in Jigawa, in Benue and Taraba states.
He also lamented that these internally displaced persons have also found refuge in Chad, in Niger and in Cameroon. But the most painful aspect of these crises, is the lack of attention by the international community to this particular unfortunate human tragedy.
He said:We have seen how the international community has performed excellently in other climes. We have seen the international community playing greater role in Afghanistan, we have seen them in Pakistan, we have seen them in Yemen, we have seenthem in Somalia, we have seen them in Syria and have been seeing them in Palestine and Iraq. But the issue of Nigeria defies any logic. We have been left as if we are not a party to this international convention.”
“I know there is political tension but this is about life. Life of people who have elected all of us to come and do what we are doing on their behalf. I have mention it before and I will mention it again that for us in the North East, election and politicking is of secondary importance. What is important for us is just to secure and protect the lives of our citizens. This is very primary and this is why we are raising this issue for the attention of the government, both the state, federal and the international community.
He also stated that Nigeria is a signatory to all these international bodies within t but when you go to the North East, those places that have been taken over by Boko Haram are still in the hold of this Boko Haram.
He also lamented that people have been forced to stay in those affected town where their villages have been taken over. Those who were able to sneak their way out of the devil’s den came and found themselves in such situation and therefore, it is a crisisthat is devils alternative.
He also added that:”The citizens of the North East have found themselves in this situation and there is nowhere for them to go. They were able to escape the domination of Boko Haram in these areas that have been taken over and where they escaped to, people are not paying adequate attention to their survival.
“The second most important town in Borno, being Barma, is still in the hands of Boko Haram. The fifth most important town, being Gwoza is still in the hands of Boko Haram and people will choose to do something in this country as if the lives of other people are not important because of the belief that ‘my brother is not the one involved’ but I must tell you that it is a circle.”
In his remarks Senate President David Mark reiterated that the country is in a war situation and in every war situation; one of the key areas that the government must worry about is refugees adding that It is not just to fight the war and fight the various battles but must also worry about refugees.
He also noted that It is an integral part of every plan that every country must make when they go to battle or war adding that” The situation with Boko Haram, we have all agreed that it is no more an internal crisis, it is a full scale war and we shouldn’t leave out any aspect of the planning.”
According to him,”We have the National Commission for Refugees, I was just looking through the functions now and one of the functions is to look after displaced persons from any war situation. We also have National Commission for Rehabilitation, which has almost the same function
His words:” That these two commissions are not working sufficiently or well enough for us to get out of where we are now is what baffles me and I simply can’t understandwhere the problem is. But having said that, the United Nations Commission for Refugees is an international UN organization and I am just reading their terms here that the agency is mandated to lead and coordinate an international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide, it didn’t say for the third world countries
” So if you go to them and they say you have the resources, then, is it that we are not part of the worldwide devotion that they have here? I don’t know the procedure for calling them, I don’t know the procedure for inviting them, I don’t know whether they have to be invited by the Federal Government or when they see actions, they move in on their own and work with the local authority
” I simply do not know what the procedure is but whatever it is, we have serious problems on our hands and we must find solutions to it. All the other issues that are being raised here, are purely administrative. If the two
commissions are working-provide water, provide food, provide accommodation and try by either resettling them to their various locations or looking for new locations for them.
“My personal advice here is that the Federal Government takes the issue of refugees very seriously; the same way in which they want to prosecute the war against Boko Haram should be the same zeal with which they will resettle and rehabilitate all those who are displaced. “