By Ebitonye Akpodigha
President Muhammadu Buhari has highlighted steps being taken by his administration to cater for the over two million people displaced from their homes in north eastern part of Nigeria by Boko Haram activities.
Mr Buhari, while addressing delegates on Monday at the High-Level Summit on ‘Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants’ on the margins of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71) in New York, United States, said his government was concerned about the plights of the IDPs.
According to him, he and his team were working hard to address the needs of the displaced persons and were already implementing several people-oriented programmes to meet their needs.
The President explained that such intervention programmes included: the Presidential Intervention Committee on Rehabilitation of the North-East; the Victims Support Fund; the Safe Schools Initiative and the proposed North-East Development Commission currently undergoing legislative process.
Mr Buhari said, “We are making concerted efforts to meet our citizens’ immediate humanitarian needs by reducing their risk and vulnerability and increasing their resilience through vocational training and skills acquisition programmes, particularly for IDPs in camps.”
He further disclosed that any discourse on refugees and migrants in the case of Nigeria “will be incomplete without reference to our internally displaced persons, victims of Boko Haram’s terrible atrocities,” which also rendered 600,000 persons homeless in Nigeria’s neighbouring countries.
Mr Buhari noted that in order to find a lasting solution to this regional challenge, Nigeria in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, recently hosted a regional conference on displacement of persons within the framework of Regional Protection Dialogue on the Lake Chad Basin.
At the global level, President Buhari said Nigeria has equally shown appreciable concern on issues of global human mobility using such control instruments as the National Migration Policy; Labour Migration Policy; Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Laws, and Nigeria Immigration and National Drug Law Enforcement Acts.
The Nigerian leader condemned all new forms of racism, xenophobia and hate ideology targeted at “undermining the considerable benefits that migration can deliver to global efficiency.”
He said such divisive tendencies only lead to violence and avoidable loss of lives in a world that requires cooperation, adding that “globalization should mean free movement of goods, services and people.”
Nigeria, he said, “believes that without deliberate and collective commitment and action, the issue of large movement of refugees and migrants may impede our aspirations toward achieving the Programme of Action of the Cairo Agenda +20 and global determination to leave no one behind in the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”