Strategic Advocacy Meeting towards the Adoption of National Policy on the Internally Displaced Persons

In recent times, there have been series of forced displacement as a result of ethnic, religious, economic and boundary conflicts, man-made and natural disasters. Cross-border migration continues to be in the news and a topic in political debates, the silent crisis of internal displacement and the resulting challenge of addressing the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) continue.

The rise in the number of IDPs, the poor and ineffective response to the root causes of internal displacement and the non-adoption of the National Policy on IDPs gave rise to this stakeholders meeting.

Society Organization Network on Migration and Development (CSOnetMADE) in collaboration with Civil Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) radiated beams of hope to the Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria by organizing a one-day round table Strategic Advocacy meeting towards the adoption of the National Policy on IDPs with the theme: An Imperative for IDPs National Policy Now!!!

The meeting comprised various Civil Societies in Abuja who gathered to lend their voices to the voiceless IDPs, in attendance also were members of the press from different network stations and newspapers. The victims of the delayed National Policy were not left out too as the IDPs were aptly represented by 5 representatives which included 2 chairmen, 2 women leaders and a secretary.

Although the federal government announced its intention in to adopt the policy at the 2018 National Migration Dialogue, the policy is supposed to be a 5-year Policy to have been reviewed in 2015 till now the Policy is still in the adoption stage.

Emeka Xris Obiezu, ED CSOnetMADE highlighted that the issues of IDPs are many, requiring many actors and coordination.  Protection and durable solution are the key components of response to the IDPs. These cannot be achieved by emergency handling agencies. Rather they are the legitimate mandate and responsibility of the competent agency, namely the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons as contained in the Presidential Directives of 2009, creating the commission.

The IDP representatives used the opportunity to cry out to the government to come to their rescue as they are faced with many challenges in the camp such as lack of education, no health facilities, inadequate food and shelter. They have been displaced since August 2014 due to the insurgency crisis. As a result of this displacement, there are 38,000 IDPs from the North East alone in over 32 camps in Abuja.

Though the actual cause of the dawdling process of adopting the policy is not properly defined, no bureaucracy or kindred issues is worth more than the life and wellbeing of one Nigerian and here we are dealing with 3.3m victims, our fellow Nigerians. The Civil Societies stand in One Voice to ensure the adoption and Implementation, The National Policy is a priority to us all as a Nation.