Wednesday, August 19

Nigeria has highest number of displaced persons – UN

The highest number of displaced people in the world are in Nigeria, the United Nations has said.

According to the UN, the continued rise in the number of displaced persons in Nigeria was largely due to the destructive activities perpetuated by the terrorists, Boko Haram, in the North Eastern part of the country.

The UN Resident Coordinator for Nigeria, Mr. Daouda Toure, revealed that over 1.5 million people were displaced in Nigeria, adding that there was an urgent need to realise the great extent of responsibility that was associated with this development.

Toure spoke during the 2015 World Humanitarian Day programme organised by the National Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said, "We need to remind everyone that 1.5 million displaced people is one of the biggest figures as we speak today in the world. So the highest number of displaced people today in the world is in Nigeria. It is not in Iraq or in any other part of the world, it is here in Nigeria and we need to do something about it."

He noted that out of the 1.5 million displaced persons in Nigeria, almost 90 per cent of them were living in displaced persons camp, adding that they need humanitarian assistance from people that were not directly affected by the activities of insurgents.

Toure said, "We need to come and help them have a better future for their children. Many of them have lost their sources of livelihood and it will be difficult for them to find their feet. This is one reason why we should mobilise ourselves and resources to assist those directly affected by the activities of insurgents and is one of the key reasons for the World Humanitarian Day."

In his address, the Director-General, NEMA, Mr. Sani Sidi, stated that in Nigeria, the Boko Haram insurgency in the North Eastern region constitutes the most challenging crisis for government and humanitarian actors in the recent history of Nigeria.

Sidi, however, observed that to guarantee the safety of the humanitarian workers during service delivery in the North-East, NEMA in liaison with the military had created safe corridors for movement by humanitarian service providers.

He explained that the universal event scheduled for 19th August of every year had been set aside by the UN General Assembly since 2008 to celebrate the gallantry of humanitarian services providers.

"These are people who have lost their lives or survive different threats to live while providing humanitarian services to persons caught on the web of natural or human induced disasters especially in violent conflict situations," Sidi said.

He added that the August 19 date coincided with the 2003 anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Canal Hotel in Bagdad, Iraq, where 22 people lost their lives including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello.

"This marked the epoch of dastardly act by terrorists and brought to fore the risk faced by humanitarian officials in different parts of the globe. There is every reason, therefore, to celebrate these heroes of our time," the NEMA boss added.

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