SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, yesterday, said 68 per cent of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in Nigeria were children.
Speaking at the sensitisation workshop and launch of UNHCR hand book, “On Internal Displacement for Parliamentarians,” Dogara said statistics from the UNHCR showed that 68 per cent of IDPs in Nigeria were children, adding that there had been about 60,000 births in IDP camps so far.
The speaker further stressed that today’s event offered the opportunity to restate the fact that there was no adequate legal framework for handling issues of internal displacement.
According to him, though Nigeria at the executive level has ratified the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention), it has not yet been domesticated by the legislature.
He said: “We need to further explore the theme of this handbook for parliamentarians, which is ‘Internal Displacement: Responsibility and Action’, in a nutshell, who and what is responsible for internal displacement and what action is being taken by relevant authorities to address the problem.
“For our purposes, I think we should adopt the description of IDPs as ‘persons or group of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized state border.’ (Article 1(k) of the Kampala Convention).
“Large scale development and environmental projects can also generate IDPs. What is clear from the above definition is that IDPs are citizens of our country. They are not refugees from another country.
“They are our constituents, some of who voted us into office. As legislators, we have a duty and responsibility to care for them, protect them, assist them, provide for their needs, their welfare and to advocate on their behalf.”
“To be displaced or uprooted from one’s home is one of the most degrading and humiliating experiences that can befall any human being.
“They are very vulnerable and are exposed to all forms of exploitation and misery, women and female children are sometimes subjected to sexual abuse, and trafficking.
“IDPs lack appropriate shelter, food, water, sanitation, healthcare, child protection and educational opportunities.
“Access to money and work is severely limited or non-existent. Statistics from the UNHCR show that 68% of IDPs in Nigeria are children and there are so far about 60, 000 births in the IDP camps.
“The National Assembly has made its own contributions to the fight against terrorism and internal displacement, over the years.
“On the fight against Terrorism, we should recall that the National Assembly speedily passed both the Terrorism Prevention and the amendment Acts to aid the executive in its anti terrorism measures.