Commission wants Nigerian government, states to build more civic centres

National Human Right Commission, NHRC logo

The commission wants a stop to use of schools as displacement camps.

The National Human Rights Commission has called on state governments to build more civic centres across the country to cater for more internally displaced people.

Grace Pam, the Coordinator (North Central) of the commission, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Jos on Wednesday.

She said this would help reduce the current trend where schools were often closed to accommodate displaced persons in time of emergencies.

According to the coordinator, civic centres will conveniently accommodate such internally displaced persons.

Mrs. Pam said that turning such schools to refugee camps had a huge effect on the education of the students and pupils of the affected secondary and primary schools.

She described the situation as “an impediment to children’s right to education’’.

“The rate at which school children are being displaced after violence, disaster and other forms of emergencies is becoming alarming and raising serious cause for concern. The schools are used as camps for the internally displaced people and at the National Human Rights Commission, we view this as an impediment to their right to education.

“If we have been following media reports, each time there is a disaster and they show the internally displaced people, it’s always in schools. Either schools, churches or mosques; but our main problem is with the schools because the children need to go to school.

“So we want to bring that to the notice of the government that we should have civic centres all over Nigeria, in the states, in the local governments, so that when disaster occurs, the displaced persons would be taken (there) instead of taking them to schools and displacing the children.

“This is unacceptable; something must be done about this to ensure uninterrupted classes in our schools during disasters, ” Mrs. Pam said.

In his reaction, Mohammed Abdulsalam, the Coordinator (North Central zone) of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said that the agency was already collaborating with state government to build civic centres in every community, to provide shelters for internally displaced persons.

“When there is disaster, schools, mosques and churches as well as the military barracks are the safest place to go to, so naturally people run there.

“If civic centres are made available and equipped with all the facilities needed in the camps, nobody will go to a school,’’ Mr. Abdulsalam said.


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