Five Rehabilitation Cities To Be Constructed By Nigeria’s Refugee Commission For Displaced People
The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons has commenced the process of providing five resettlement cities to harbour displaced persons in parts of the country.
Federal Commissioner of the Refugee Commission, Imaan Sulaiman, disclosed this on Thursday at Presidential Villa, Abuja during the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team.
According to her, the pilot phase of the project will begin in Borno, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Nasarawa and Edo states.
She explained: “When displacements happen, floods, communal clashes, people lose their homes and means of livelihood. So, we have started a piloting phase of our project resettlement in 2020. The project resettlement city will entail building small cities because Persons of Concern (POCs) have three options of doable solutions.
“They can either locally integrate, resettle or they can go back to their homes. But sometimes, they are unable to go back home and that is why there is a need for building new communities or strengthening the capacity of their host communities.
“We are in the third phase of our resettlement city project but the pilot phase is in Borno State, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Nasarawa and Edo State. Most of them are now at between 70-90 per cent completion but that of Edo State is about to take off.”
The Commissioner also noted that as part of its doable solutions, the Commission intends to address hunger as well as implement empowerment schemes among displaced persons, as they imbibe new forms of livelihood.
Giving further updates on the activities of the Commission, she said: “When displacements happen within Nigeria, we are not the first responders. So, we are expected to come in after they are stable to be able to provide them with doable solutions so that they can go back to normalcy.
“So, the recent adoption of the National IDP Policy in 2021 by the Federal Executive Council is epic because that gives us the legal framework and clearly highlights everybody’s role including the IDPs and the host communities.
“We have been able to continue to strengthen the psycho-social support system for the Commission because people are displaced, they go through all kinds of trauma. So, psycho-social support is key.
“We have begun the piloting phase for the transitional learning centres in some locations, Edo, Zamfara, Imo, Bauchi, Federal Capital Territory and Katsina. We’ve been able to give persons of concern access to COVID-19 vaccines and also conduct medical outreaches in collaboration with the National Primary Health care Development Agency.
“With the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), we have been able to train 10, 000 POCs in all areas of ICT skills. This is in line with their own vision to achieve 90 per cent of literacy for the citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We have also introduced the project Zero-Hunger, which was conceived to address the growing challenge of food insecurity because when you are hungry, you become vulnerable and easily accessible to criminal minds. We also ensure that we give them targeted empowerment and capacity-building training to make them more self-sufficient and give them a new lease of life.”
On the challenges facing the Commission, Suleiman revealed that they include insecurity, rising number of refugees and funding, adding: “The major challenge is security. In managing humanitarian crises there are areas that we are supposed to reach and we are unable to do so and that is a major problem because even when they are undergoing the crisis, sometimes the places are not secured but they still require support.
“The second challenge is the rising numbers. You will agree with me that we have had an unprecedented humanitarian crisis globally. These things just keep happening and we have to manage the issue regardless. So, I think the rising numbers are also a challenge and we have to find a way of shrinking the numbers as quickly as possible.
“Then thirdly, is funding. There is hardly any funds for anything and they are required to be able to intervene quickly for these people.”
While noting that there are over 3.2 million refugees in Nigeria, she said the Commission has so far been able to register 84, 803 even as 17, 334 Nigerian refugees have voluntarily returned to their homes.
She said the Commission is working actively with the Benue State government to take care of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state, whose number its government has put at 1.5 million.