SEMA: Adhere Strictly to Norms on Treatment of IDPs

By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Humanitarian organisations and philanthropic individuals have been asked to adhere strictly to international norms on the treatment of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Speaking against the improper distribution of relief materials at one of the unofficial IDP camps in Maiduguri that led to the death of a septuagenarian, the Chairman of Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Hajiya Yabawa Kolo, said it was regrettable that all the known international norms are disobeyed by donor agencies and individuals.
Kolo said the state government is unhappy with recent happening at formal and informal IDP locations on distribution of “Iffar and other food and non food items”.
She said: “A few days back, it was brought to the notice of the organisation that an elderly man by name, Usman Yusuf, aged 70 years lost his life at El-Miskin IDP camp located in Old Maiduguri, Jere Local Government Area and two others seriously wounded at Madinatu IDP camps during distribution exercise.
“It is to this effect that the agency is warning all philanthropic individuals and humanitarian organisations to strictly adhere to the international norms undermining the protection of internally displaced persons and also respect all the guiding principle that need to be observed while conducting distributions, that is separate exit and entry points, convenient facilities, screening and issuance of coupons, engaging camp leadership to captured diversity and complying with the principles of gender, ethnicity, age, religion and disability while delivering assistance.”
According to her, “It is expected that compliance with humanitarian principle of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independent that is mandatory and should be yardstick guiding the distribution.”
She called on all agencies that lack capacity in crowd management and control to always seek the assistance of SEMA, trained and experienced volunteers to assist them while conducting distribution exercise.
She however warned that any erring individual or organisations that may cause or create havoc to IDPs while conducting distribution would have themselves to blame as the full wrath of the law would be made to bear on them.