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October 2019

Humanitarian Issues: the IDPs

It is a welcome development that President Muhammadu Buhari created the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, headed by Hajia Sadiya Umar-Farouq to provide solutions to the plight of millions of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as well as coordinate humanitarian affairs and social development in the country.

The country, in the last 10 years, has been in the throes of insurgency in the North-East, especially in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States. This insurgency has created a lot of social dislocation and millions of IDPs. According to an August 2019 report from Médecins Sans Frontières, (Doctors without Borders), “It is estimated that about 35,000 people have been killed since 2009, 1.8 million people are internally displaced, and 7.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance across the north-eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. Around 230,000 people have fled to the neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon”.

The Hon Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq, an experienced past Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Person is well positioned to address the challenges of the Ministry’s enormous task ahead by constituting the core team she would work with and establishing their presence strongly for direct and immediate impact across the states.

Towards rebuilding the North East, President Muhammadu Buhari encouraged the World Bank in partnership with the European Union, philanthropists and other foreign organizations interested in rebuilding the North East to be more committed to erecting structures and physical presence in those areas to aid the smooth and effective returning of displaced persons to their settlements. Rather than giving out cash and other monetary gifts which over time has been reported that the displaced persons and supposed beneficiaries of humanitarian crisis and disaster issues often find it difficult to receive these aids and donations from individuals and organizations because of some atrocities committed by those responsible for the management of those resources such as food, water and clothing.

Things are sometimes easy to destroy than to rebuild, this is the current situation of the North East in Nigeria. Rebuilding the North East remains a huge project to be completed but it is possible with the efforts of the government, the people and international organizations committed to making this happen. The creation of a ministry to take care of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development has thus made the pathway for the rebuilding of the North-East much more visible as there would be more accountability and responsibility for actors and non-actors towards humanitarian issues in Nigeria.



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