To commemorate the UN World Refugee Day, an NGO, Sesor Empowerment Foundation, has called for collective and urgent action by all Nigerians to rehabilitate displaced persons and refugees in Nigeria and prevent more people getting displaced.
Their call is in line with the 2020 theme: Every Action Counts.
According to a statement released by the Foundation, the number of displaced persons has been put at an all time high with 79.5million people displaced worldwide, with over half of the displaced being internally displaced persons (IDPs – seeking refuge within their home country) while the rest are refugees (seeking refuge in another country).
Citing the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s (IDMC) latest report released this week, the statement said that Nigeria has 2.58million IDPs.
“Sesor believes this figure to be much higher as it mainly captures the number of IDPs in the North East only and does not account for those displaced in the North West, the Middle Belt and other parts of the country including the Southern regions.” The statement read.
“We are particularly mindful of more people being displaced by conflict in recent attacks in Southern Kaduna, Katsina, Borno and more recently by floods in Lagos and call for more urgent actions to provide relief and rehabilitate the displaced.”
As a result, Sesor is honouring all displaced persons across Nigeria.
“They have continued to remain resilient, law-abiding and peaceful even in the face of severe deprivations and increasing vulnerability with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Since March 2020, Sesor, with the help of donations from concerned Nigerians and the Grooming Centre has provided COVID19 relief support to 289 displaced and disadvantaged women and their families in Lagos and Benue.
The Foundation called on all Nigerians to take collective action to support displaced persons and to prevent further displacement.
“Displacement can happen to anyone and all of us owe it to ourselves and our children to take action together to prevent situations that lead to further displacement. Such actions including supporting groups that work with IDPs and asking our elected representatives to work on improving the situation of the displaced especially with respect to issues of safety, security, housing and education for IDPs and refugees.”
They further urged the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons to update and implement Nigeria’s National Policy on Internally Displaced Persons and provide clearer data on the situation of displaced persons in Nigeria.
Sesor applauded the Commission’s recent COVID-19 relief initiatives for the displaced and persons of concern in various states and said that they look forward to seeing more comprehensive data on displacement all across Nigeria for better planning and interventions.
They called on all relevant federal, state and local government agencies across Nigeria to give even more attention to displaced persons and work with various stakeholders, including NGOs and other civil society actors including religious bodies to consider sustainable strategies for realising the rights of the displaced especially their right to having identification, secure housing, access to quality education and health services.
Sesor restated its commitment to working to support displaced persons as we mark 10 years of service to displaced person.
The World Refugee Day is a day set aside world-wide to raise awareness about the situation of persons displaced forcibly from their homes as a result of conflict, natural disasters, government action or persecution.