Abuja- Mr Mohammed Sidi, the Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has said that Internally Displaced Persons (IPDs) would not be forcefully evacuated from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Sidi made the statement on Wednesday in Abuja at a meeting with Prof. Bem Angwe the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was part of inter-agency collaboration to address the proliferation of IDP camps in the FCT and other issues related to the IDPS.
Sidi said: “the return of IDPs must be voluntary.
“We have been working together with the NHRC to ensure that the issue of IDPs in Abuja is addressed holistically.
“Part of the strategy is to provide durable solutions and there will not be any forceful evacuation of IDPs out of Abuja.
“Their return must be voluntary; this is where the rights of the IDPs are being protected and the executive secretary and the commission are the custodians of these rights.
“We will ensure that they not only return but that the return will be optional.
“If they to return to the camps in the North-East fine, but if they wish to go back to their community, we will encourage and assist them.’’
The NEMA boss explained that the agency would ensure that the IDPs were not only returned safely to their communities but also in a dignified manner.
Earlier in his remarks, Angwe stated that over 500 IDPs taking shelter at EFAB estate in the FCT had cried out to the commission.
He said that the IDPs complained that the owners of the estate had asked them to vacate the premises.
He said the commission had pleaded on their behalf, adding that the owners of the estate had given the IDPs a final notice of eviction.
The executive secretary said the commission had set up a committee comprising the necessary stakeholders to look into the issue of IDPs in the FCT and other states were IDPs were taking refuge.
The chairman of the committee Mr Lambert Oparah, enumerated some of the challenges they discovered to include the complaint by FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that they were overwhelmed with the number of IDPS.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there are currently about 3.3 million persons displaced in the country as a result of conflict and insurgency.(NAN)