Experts seek a more secured environment for IDPs, Refugees

idp-nemExperts have called on the government to be uptight in security issues around the country as it is the leading cause of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees increasing in our society.

Speaking yesterday at the fourth posthumous birthday of the Founder of the African Refugees Foundation (AREF), Chief Segun Olusola, with the theme, ‘reaching out to the Internally displaced – a myth or reality’, President of the foundation, Oparal Benson noted that over the years, political cohesion, insurgency and terrorism have remained a devastating scourge threatening the global space.

“It has become glaring that when tensions escalate, there is the tendency for upheavals to develop and for local inhabitants to seek a more secured environment. Internal displacement is a direct product of the refugee phenomenon which has created complex political, economic, cultural and environmental issues affecting millions of people worldwide.”

The Octogenarian added, “We need to halt conflicts at their early stages before they generate into full blown wars. This is the time to act before the scourge causes further havoc to humanity.”

Son of the founder and Chief Executive Officer AWEF, Mr. Jimi Olusola said, “Our greatest challenge today is security, especially with the scourge of Boko Haram in the North-East with its adverse affect on peace initiative which shut down development. The nation cannot develop in the midst of this kind of security situations confronting us. We call on governments, institutions, foreign countries, NGOs, militants and insurgents to have an attitudinal change of heart to encourage peace and development.

“Nigerians have been coerced to grapple with the large scale of unprecedented insecurity, resulting in catastrophic circumstances with devastating killings, maiming, kidnapping, abduction, monumental destruction and dare social economic consequences and so political leaders must put on their thinking caps, be on the same peaceful platform and face the challenges of the times that will focus on human dignity.”

According to a partner at S.I.A.O, Sir Ladi Smith, refugees and IDPS are people who found themselves in unfortunate circumstances and so faith based charity organizations like the Salvation Army have been charged to be of help at such times. “Unfortunately, we are reactive in this country instead of being proactive to situations. We didn’t see the need to set up emergency centres until the break of Boko Haram, but then environmental disasters, poverty and economic situations can lead to these eventualities. We need to mobilize people to make donations, get volunteers, so that at every point of emergency situations, there are materials to support, while the government also plays its part, because I believe they cannot do it all alone.”

Chief Executive Officer of Maxima Systems, Adebisi Kuforiji while speaking on the business development and skills training perspective said, “We have a frustrating enabling environment in Nigeria and so it is difficult reaching out to the IDPs, figures from the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) says there are about 2, 152, 000 IDPs which is not possible. Look around you, there are a lot of people living in the streets, under the bridges, beggars everywhere, and so I am sure the IDPs are over 20 million in the country.

“If every organization can have a corporate social responsibility to these IDPs and the government ensures that companies give a percentage of their interest, then it will go a long way to help. Some of these people do not only need financial assistance but psychological help and so setting up counseling centres around the state is a sure way to alleviate the sufferings of the IDPs.”

According to the Founder, Fight Against Desert Encroachment (FADE) Dr. Newton Jibunoh, environmental disaster is enough to render people homeless and that was the drive and passion for Late Olusola who set up AREF over a decade ago, while president of the Christian Diplomacy Network Rev. Segun Aderiye added that diplomacy is key to solving crisis situations that brings rise to IDPs and refugees.

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