With a review to reintegrate the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-east region, the Federal Government has said plans are in earnest to ensure that they are resettled as soon as possible in their home communities.
The Federal Commissioner, United Nations Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, made this disclosure at the recent comprehensive medical care outreach provided by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
The outreach, which was held at the United Nations ground at Ikoyi, Lagos, was for the IDPs in Lagos. Over 500 IDPs from FESTAC, Satellite and Ajah camps in Lagos were subjected to various medical screenings and treatments conducted by personnel from NAF Medical Services.
According to the air force, the essence of the two-day medical outreach, themed ‘we care, we share,’ which ended yesterday at Ikoyi, Lagos, was so that the IDPs can have access to adequate health care.
Asides Farouq, the acting Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago, Garth Lamsee and NAF’s Director of Humanitarian Services, Air Commodore Harold Onyechi, were also present.
In her speech, Farouq said the federal government also has plans to equip them with self-reliant skills so that even those that have no wish to go home can still have means of livelihood.
While commending the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, and the Chief of Medical Services, Air Vice Marshal SM Shinkafi, for taking the lead in providing medical care for IDPs across Nigeria, she said the NAF have lived up to its humanitarian duties.
She said, “The NAF is not only living up to its constitutional responsibility of securing our land, airspace and overall territorial integrity, but also engaging in humanitarian assistance to our persons of concern.
“Plans are in earnest to ensure that the IDPs are resettled as soon as possible in their home communities. There are also plans to equip them with self-reliant skills so that those of them who may not wish to be voluntarily relocated to their states when it is time, would have viable means of livelihood.”
According to her, the commission was conversant with the current spate of internal displacement in the North-east and the attendant issues being faced by these persons of concern in the areas of health, shelter, food, education, among others.
She said: “It is therefore one of the major policy drives of this government, to not only ensure that all persons of concern are properly catered for, but also proffer durable solutions, which encompasses resettlement and return of IDPs to their previous places of abode.
“This medical intervention is an important activity in a series being carried out in collaboration with NAF and is expected to be a continuous exercise, involving more IDPs in this zone.”
Some of the services rendered to the IDPs include eye test, dental clinic, antenatal, general outpatient services, laboratory services and outpatient pharmacy.
Lamsee, who donated some consumables to the IDPs on behalf of his country, said he feels a moral responsibility to stand in solidarity with the IDPs in recognition of their horrific humanitarian crisis.
He assured them that they would endure, survive and eventually rise from their current state.
Appreciating the gesture of the NAF, some of the IDPs who said they fled Michika in Adamawa State in 2014, said they have since taken to begging to survive.
To Lekshi David, a 30-year-old mother of three, she usually earned between N50 and N100 daily from begging, which she uses to support her family.
She said: “I have not seen my husband since 2014 that we ran from Michika. My home and shop were burnt down and I was pregnant then. I fled with my other baby and stated staying in FESTAC. Since then I have been begging. I have not seen my husband since then. Most times, people would give me food and sometimes I make N50 or N100.
“So, with that kind of money, I cannot afford to go to the hospital or take any of my children there. That is why I am happy that the NAF remembered us with this their programme.”
Another beneficiary, Sarah Simon, who said she would love to return home, however expressed concerns that Boko Haram terrorists were still attacking neighbouring communities.