Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has said that the number of Nigerians displaced by violence in the North-East has hit five million, contrary to official figures of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs put at 2.1 million.
The speaker disclosed this yesterday when he received the Head of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Ms. Angel Dekonge Antangara in his office where he stated that as a House, the issue of the IDPs was dear to them and would do everything within the ambit of the law to alleviate the sufferings of the displaced persons.
According to him, “As an indigene of the North-East, it is safe to say the number of IDPs in Nigeria can be up to five million. The NHCR deals with symptoms of terrorism which is the displacement.”
Dogara said in view of the growing number of IDPs in the country, he would sponsor a motion calling the attention of the Federal Government to the plight of the displaced persons with the hope of working together to bring about a lasting solution through the engagement of International Donor Conference for the plight of those in the North-East.
The speaker, therefore, appealed for assistance from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, adding that terrorism had become a global phenomenon cutting across borders.
He assured his guest that the Committee on Public Safety and National Intelligence would be mandated to handle issues relating to IDPs for now, stressing that they were ready to partner relevant agencies towards combating terrorism.
“If they are overwhelmed, a substantive Committee for IDPs will be looked into. The House is ready to partner with all relevant bodies committed to ending the evil that produce refugees, IDPs and the events of statelessness,” Dogara added.
On the issue of domesticating the resolutions of the refugee conventions, the speaker said the House would partner with the Senate to ensure that those important treaties and conventions were ratified through the relevant committees soon.
Speaking earlier, Ms. Angel Dekonge Antangara told the speaker that the office provides solutions both locally and worldwide.
Ms. Antangara explained that the UNHCR intervenes for people termed as stateless or borderless, adding that she was in Nigeria to look at the MoU UNHCR had with the country.
She hinted that Nigeria had 2.1 million IDPs (Nigerians), recalling that there was the Kampala Convention of 2001 which Nigeria played a pivotal role.
“I hope Nigeria will sustain its pioneer role in the security and resettlement of IDPs as well as parliamentary input to sensitising on the right of IDPs as human beings,” she stated.
The Head of UNHCR appealed that the existing draft from the IDPs convention should be domesticated and a committee should be set up to take care of refugees as well as IDPs.
According to her, “This issue warrants serious parliamentary attention. UNHCR is ready to provide technical and even financial support to organise events to sensitize members on the way forward in preventing and resetting IDPs when they occur,”
“UNHCR requires parliamentary involvement against statelessness as this is a state which the UN continues to fight against. Again, the UNHCR is prepared to partner in creating an enlightening studies to prevent statelessness, especially in the Bakassi and other areas so they do not fall into statelessness.”
On her part, the Director-General of the National Council for Women Society, NCWD, Onyeka Onwenu, said the partnership between UNHCR and NCWD started with the world refugee day and the issues of girl child cannot be extricated from IDPs and refugees as women and girls were mostly victims of the insurgents.

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