Internally displaced persons (IDPs) will be better off if rehabilitated and reintegrated into their host communities, a charity group has said.
The group, Hope for All Foundation, said such reintegration would allow a balanced development across class strata in the communities.
The foundation’s leader, Zainab Aliyu, made the call in Abuja during a presentation of educational relief materials to IDP schoolchildren under the group’s scholarship scheme.
“We need to incorporate these people (IDPs) into their host communities because they are well-accustomed with their social life.
“This will not only help balance the social inequality in Nigeria, it will also boost their morale when they are accepted back to society,” she said.
Saying the poor condition of IDPs reflects the impecunious condition millions of Nigerians, Mrs Aliyu harped on the need for non-state actors to contribute to the reintegration, especially in the area of education.
“The issue of education is a responsibility of all. We have to help ourselves in bringing about social stability. To do this, we must see education as a tool in acquiring social equality,” she said.
She said her advocacy for the education of the IDP minors was borne out of corporate social responsibility she has towards bettering society.
The foundation, according to her, has 76 children from IDP camps in the FCT and the less-privileged families under the scholarship scheme.
Due to decade-long Boko-haram insurgency, herdsmen-farmer conflict and flood disaster, about two million people are said to have been forcibly displaced from their homes.
Ninety-four per cent of them were displaced by the insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).
The fleeing victims have taken shelter in makeshift camps in different parts of the country, including the FCT.
In November, President Muhammadu Buhari called for support from the UN in rehabilitating IDPs in Nigeria so as to forestall a big problem it could cause the country in future.
While some have condemned the snail-paced process of rehabilitating the displaced persons, civil society groups have also claimed that there has been no visible plans for their reintegration into society.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives, on Wednesday, passed for second reading a bill for the prohibition of stigmatisation against persons who are victims of insurgency or militancy.
In a phone interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday, the spokesperson to the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Alkasim Abdulkadir, said the reintegration of displaced persons would be done only if the Nigerian army ascertained the security of such communities.
He, however, noted that plans are ongoing to build 500 houses for displaced persons in camps.
When asked if FCT ‘unauthorised’ camps would be included in the plan, he said “no.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Commissioner of the Commission, Basheer Muhammad, had earlier listed the establishment of Informal Educational Learning Centres, amongst programmes and projects to be undertaken in the year 2020.
“The Commission plans to build Informal Educational Learning Centres in all IDP camps. This will encourage learning in children unable to attend regular schools and those with special needs due to the trauma of displacement,” Mr Mohammed said.
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