By Elvis-wura Towolawi
Recently, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) disclosed that it has on record 981, 416 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) throughout the country, especially from the North-East since the Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009. This disclosure was made by the Director-General of the Agency Muhammad Sani when he received a high-power contingent of officials from USAID, West Africa region in Abuja, on Tuesday 13th January 2015. (See: Daily Trust, Wednesday January 14, 2015).
Making further analysis of the figure, the Agency pointed out that – 120, 077 students were affected with 7,135 in Adamawa, 113,635 in Borno, and 73, 894 in Yobe.
Besides, it was stated that 155 schools have been destroyed in the North East since the insurgency began. Now, if we add the figure of IDPs to the number of Nigerians living as refugees in Chad, Niger, and Cameroun as a result of the insurgency and insecurity in the North-Eastern fringes of the country; then we will realize that we have on our hands humanitarian crisis snowballing into a real crisis which demands swift action to alleviate the suffering of our people and stop the tide of inhumanity lest it overflows. The total number of displaced Nigerians can be estimated at over 2 million. it is not a matter to be left to the burdened hands of the Nigerian government alone; but a transnational and global issue that deserve the equal attention of the United Nations Systems, African Union, ECOWAS, as well as other well-meaning nations of the world.
Essentially, it is not enough to dish out relief materials to the IDPs; what they need is an enabling environment to reintegrate into the society. IDPs must be empowered to make a dignifying living depending on their capacity and trade. The affected students must be reabsorbed into other schools in the country so they can continue their education; even only to negative the fundamentalists’ core goal of furthering ignorance and illiteracy. The Federal Government through its Agency in consort with local and global humanitarian and development partners must step up action in making sure that the IDPs are catered to and strengthened to find their feet. The security of the IDPs camps is of utmost importance as many of these people are vulnerable and susceptible to violation by unscrupulous elements.
Most importantly, the war on terrorism and crass religious fundamentalism must be fought with renewed vigour, technique, and strategy to ensure victory. This war must not only be fought on the frontline and guerilla arena, but it must also be fought and won in the minds of the people. Our people must be re-oriented to shun every strand of religious bigotry and untoward sentiments which fuels this fire. Let the river of social justice flow all over our land in order to engender true patriotism. Only that way will our soldiers and citizens put their necks on the line to battle any form of evil that threatens the peace and progressive co-existence of the people and her country……