Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Dogara seeks better funding for IDPs in 2016 budget

The Speaker of the House Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara has urged the Presidency to make adequate budgetary provision in 2016 for the resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country.
He also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to forward a bill to the National Assembly for the ratification of the Kampala Treaty on Internally Displaced Persons for ratification.
The Speaker, made the call in his remarks at the sensitization workshop on the role of the parliament in addressing the challenges of IDPs in Nigeria, organized by the House Committee on Internally Displaced Persons, (IDPs) Refugees, and Initiatives on the Northern East Geopolitical Zone.
It was also done in collaboration with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
About N80 billion has been garnered by the Presidential Committee on Boko Haram Victims Support Fund headed by T. Y. Danjuma, according to the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun, who spoke at the recent 2015 Inter parliamentary Union held in Geneva, Switzerland.
He said: “Permit me to place on record, the appreciation of the House of Representatives of the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, to end terrorism and return our IDPs back to their respective communities. In particular, the inclusion of N5 billion in the 2015 Supplementary Appropriation Bill just submitted to the National Assembly, for victims of terrorism for which IDPs, form a major part, shows responsiveness on the part of Mr. President.
“Of course, we will expect even more support in the 2016 Budget Proposal. In this regard, we solicit the continued cooperation and support of our development partners, UN Agencies, Multilateral and Bilateral Partners, international and National NGOs, International Foundations, International Funds, Development Banking Institutions and Agencies, such as World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank, etc. The private sector organizations and Companies in Nigeria cannot be left out in this effort. We know they are doing a lot already. We thank them for their commitment and efforts so far while hoping that they will do more.
“Today’s event offers the opportunity to restate the fact that there is no adequate legal framework for handling issues of internal displacement. Even though Nigeria at the Executive level has ratified the African Union Convention for the Protection and assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention), it has not yet been domesticated by the Legislature.
“Therefore, permit me to call on Mr President to transmit to the National Assembly, an executive bill on this and indeed other relevant treaties for domestication.
“However, as legislators, we have primary constitutional responsibility to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of Nigeria, and we shall in the exercise of this constitutional mandate soon be left with no option but to introduce a Bill to domesticate the all important Kampala Convention, if for whatever reason the executive is unable to send the required Bill.”
Dogara said the House is currently processing a Bill to consolidate the anti-terrorism legislations into one document for ease of use and reference, and that the National Assembly has always supported all budgetary requests from the Executive to fight terrorism.
Chairman of the House Committee on IDPs, Refugees and North East Initiative, Sani Zorro, in his speech noted that the over two million IDPs scattered across the country in different camps are faced with “substandard facilities, most of whom are women and orphaned children, with hunger and malnutrition as the common denominators that define their lives.”
Statistics from the UNHCR showed that 68 percent of IDPs in Nigeria are children and there are so far about 60,000 births in the IDP campaigns across the country.