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Refugee Commission’s Resettlement City Programme: A Model for Africa

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Refugee Commission’s Resettlement City Programme: A Model for Africa

By SADIQ ABDULLATEEF

For decades now, nations have battled with issues concerning resettlement of refugees and displaced persons, and the most persistent problem across the world has always been, how to fully rehabilitate, resettle and reintegrate the persons of concern into the host communities successfully. With a growing population of refugees across the globe, there seem to be no end in sight for this pending resettlement problem.
Nigeria, today is faced with one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the history of the country, with a fast-growing population, the humanitarian landscape is filled with a high number of refugees and displaced persons and returnee migrants, whose mere means of livelihood has been eliminated.
According to an United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) report in 2019, Nigeria had a total of 4.04 million POCs as of July, this figure includes over 2.2 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), another 1.6 million returnees and an estimated 242,707 refugees. Interestingly, over the years, Nigeria has become a refuge of interest for refugees from Niger Republic, Chad and Cameroon.
Cameroon has the highest number of refugees in Nigeria, with a total of 57, 809 refugees across five states; Akwa Ibom 547, Benue 7531, Cross River 36764, Imo 6 and Taraba 12, 961.
For almost 10 years, the Boko Haram insurgency and other related violence in the North-east has forced the highest number of POCs into permanent and active displacement, with more than 2 million persons in the Lake Chad region left with increased vulnerability and a big hindrance to access to basic amenities.
President Muhammadu Buhari has used the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), the agency saddled with the mandate for the protection, care, maintenance and durable solutions for the POCs as well as ensuring a comprehensive welfare for them. It is an established fact that for over 5 years, President Muhammadu has been steadfast in the support and approach towards delivering aid to this large population of vulnerable POCs.
As a responsive government, President Buhari deployed an inclusive approach in carrying out interventions, which has been exemplified in the context of specific interventions carried out for over 5 years, especially on issues relating to the refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and returnee migrants from across the globe.
The protection of refugees and displaced persons is among the top priorities of the administration, and that is further evident in the steps taken in further developing modalities for inclusion of refugees in the social safety nets through the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) in order to make everyone count, most especially the persons of concern.
President Buhari further recognised that having durable solutions like the full rehabilitation of displaced persons and the provision of sustainable livelihood assistance, including resettlement; requires persistent workable plans, such plans came with the appointment of a new Honourable Federal Commissioner in the person of Senator Basheer Garba Mohammed for the commission last year, on the 29th August to be precise.
Also at the forefront of this struggle is the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, who has tirelessly and continously supported the commission in its efforts of ensuring a successful resettlement, rehabilitation and reintegration of persons of concern.
Upon assumption into office, the Honourable Federal Commissioner, Senator Mohammed made the commission’s priorities for the year 2020 and beyond take a shift towards delivering a holistic strategy that sets resettlement and reintegration of persons of concern as primacy.
This strategy gave birth to the NCFRMI’s Resettlement City Development & Rehabilitation Programme aimed at responding to the growing need and request of the large numbers of IDPs and refugees in the country as it is worthy of note that as of December 2019, Nigeria has more than 1,000 formal and informal IDPs camps across the country.
A 2019 needs and mobility assessment report indicated that more than 80 percent of these persons of concern, who were displaced in these camps and many other camps in the neighbouring countries were ready and willing to return to communities of free movement, security and sustainable means of living.
And to make their dreams of such return come true, Senator Mohammed’s Resettlement City Programme has been geared towards establishment of resettlement cities across the states in Nigeria, and designed for long-term impact through the reintegration, rehabilitation and resettlement initiatives for the persons of concern as well as a harmonious coexistence with the host communities.
Each resettlement city will include educational learning centres, religious centres, health facilities, recreational parks, skill acquisitions centres as well as security stations. Each city will also have easy access to water, solar electricity and be attached to social services that support their reintegration.
This is in lieu of the fact that the Honourable Federal Commissioner recognised the importance of ensuring a beneficial relationship between the host communities and the persons of concern, thereby ensuring a strategy of providing social amenities that will be beneficial to both parties and encourage a sustainable user-friendly relationships.
Senator Mohammed further recognised a very important inclusion in the resettlement city; is having learning and educational centres for the person of concerns, as the need to give the growing population of youths in these camps basic education, even if its just to learn how to read and write. The relevance of this aspect of the resettlement city cannot be overemphasised.
As the Honourable Federal Commissioner likes to put it himself, ‘a boy or a girl who has been in the displaced persons’ camp since the beginning of the Boko Haram crises has probably been out of school for about a decade. That is ten wasted education years for the millions of youths in the camp. This should be a source of concern for anybody’.
As the situation of displaced persons in the country gets direr as a result a number of crises, the commission in its efforts to bring comfort and succour to the persons of concern has worked tirelessly to secure vast amount of lands in some states across the federation for the establishment of the historic resettlement city, and the Honourable Federal Commissioner has ensure that every stakeholder is on board as the programme moves to the next level.
Therefore as the commission plans to add another mandate to its welfare plate for the persons of concern in camps across the states by providing a long-term and durable solution to the resettlement issues at hand, there is a growing need for more assistance and support for the commission as provided through collaborations with various donors within the country and well-meaning Nigerians to this programme.
It goes without saying that a programme of this magnitude needs the continuous support and assistance of everyone in the country, from the government at all levels, corporate bodies to individual who wish to be part of this historic project. A project that is modelled to be the best in Africa and at completion, will be the pride of the nation and its people – there should be a general call to action.
Like we all know, displacement is often a survival mechanism, when fleeing is the only resort people have in order to avoid imminent danger or hardship. However, displacement also tends to make people vulnerable, often exacerbating the difficulties they already face as a result of the surrounding – armed conflict or violence. Displaced people are torn away from their usual surroundings and social support networks. Families are often ripped apart and relatives may be killed or go missing during transit.
The loss of income, possessions and sorts leaves internally displaced persons and returnee migrants unable to meet even their most basic needs in a predictable way or access to basic services. It is our collective duty to help the government and the commission bring back smiles to the faces of these people – for humanity and for ourselves through the commission’s Resettlement City Development Programme.

Sadiq is the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Honourable Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI).

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Opinion

What Has Niger Delta Done to Buhari’s Administration?

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What Has Niger Delta Done to Buhari’s Administration?


The Niger Delta Coalition of Justice and Equity (NDCJE), a pro-democracy, pressure group and civil society organization, made up of professionals from different endeavours basically set up for the emancipation of the Niger Delta/South-South people and to accelerate the fight for equity and justice for the region in particular; especially as it concerns government appointments into positions, remunerations and justice for the Niger Delta people as a region that has singularly been responsible for the rich oil and gas deposit, on which Nigeria as a nation, sits on today and parades itself as the giant of Africa.

The NDCJE has, for long, kept aloof, because of the precarious security situation of the country and the divisive tendencies thrown overboard by people in authority, who, look the other way, for their selfish interest, not minding where their actions take the nation to, even if it is in a retrogressive motion.

As partners that believe in the course of Nigeria as a dear nation; as well as believe in putting square pegs in square holes, and uplifting merit than mediocrity in all ramifications, we are hereby compelled to critically and objectively analyze the current letter from the President to the National Assembly, presenting someone for confirmation as Acting Director-General; someone that has not even acted for a day, not to talk about acting in any capacity whatsoever, but has consistently let Nigerians know that he will surely (come rain or shine) ascend the mantle of leadership of NASRDA. Our investigation has revealed that his confidence is based on the presumption that having been connected to the present Chief of Staff to the President as a cousin, he will have a smooth sail, based on these antecedents:

• That Dr Halidu Shaba Ahmad has never ever acted in any capacity before now, not to talk about that of Director-General/Chief Executive of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA); and that he is even number eight in the hierarchy of the nominal roll of the agency since Mr Jonathan Angulu left as the Acting Director-General of the agency. We wish to recall that Mr Angulu handed over the mantle of leadership to the most senior management staff in person of Dr Francis Chizea Dubem, a renowned research fellow with 21 years of service at NASRDA, who has been in charge of the organization till date, and the first Vice Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, a position bestowed on him based on the recommendation of the African Group Task Force on Space Science and Technology, based in Vienna, Austria.

• That precisely, nine months ago, the South-South Renaissance Group (SSRG) called on the Chief of Staff of the President, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, to prevail on Dr Halidu Shaba to stop parading himself as the Acting Director-General of the agency; the call which was captured under the headline, “Curtail Dr Halidu Shaba’s Inconsistencies, Bragging Rights at Nigerian Space Agency.” This was informed by the fact that Halidu was unduly parading himself (which action made him to be safely referred to as an imposter) as Acting Director-General, which he is not in any capacity and has never acted as such till date, until his recommendation few hours ago to the National Assembly by the President/Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic.

• That Mr Halidu brags in the corridors of power that he and his cabal/cohorts own the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari; that they decide whatever happens to any position; as well as decide who occupies which position as far as Muhammadu Buhari remains the president. Going by this impunity, our organization vehemently resists this injustice meted out to Dr Chizea Dubem, and any other qualified and legitimate candidate for that matter. This is based on the fact that all qualified Nigerians have alienable right to aspire to any position of authority as long as they remain Nigerians. In view of the above, therefore, we are asking these vital questions: What has the Niger Delta done to the Nigerian nation to deserve this barbaric treatment? Where did the Niger Delta go wrong, in such a way that it will warrant the dropping of the most senior and adequately qualified Acting Director General from the region, who has all the prerequisite qualifications; and the sending of the name of the number eight position in hierarchy on the nominal roll? How long will it take for Dr Francis Chizea Dubem to be confirmed as the Director-General of the agency?

• It will also be recalled that there was a candid instruction from the President that the National Council in charge of the board of NARSDA must meet to ratify Dr Chizea’s ascension, but that meeting did not hold. Today, the name of one who does not deserve to be recommended, Mr Halildu, has been smuggled through the window/back door and sent to the National Assembly for confirmation. If this is confirmed, it will affirm his bragging rights for the past two years that he would be made Director-General of the agency.

• Luckily, at the agency, since inception, this is the turn of the Niger-Delta/South South to assume the position of authority as the Director-General, having acted for over one year, within which period the agency has grown in leaps and bound, conforming to international best practice and good governance, entrenched in all ramifications. The Acting Director-General still remains Dr Francis Chizea Dubem, who has been acting since Mr Jonathan Angulu left the agency. We pray that due diligence be carried out to ascertain the veracity of this statement to know the fact of the matter. But one would ponder, where has Mr Halidu been all this while, that Dr Chizea Dubem has been sacrificing tooth and nail to keep the agency afloat, especially during this Covid-19 Pandemic? Who is misleading the President to act contrary on the issue he had already directed the National Council to meet to rectify Dr Francis Chizea Dubem? The Acting Director-General is Dr Francis Chizea Dubem and not Halidu. It is a concoction from the pit of hell, which, we suggest, must be verified by the security agencies and right thinking Nigerians. Would somebody tell us what is happening in this country? Again, at what stage, did Halidu rise to become the authentic Acting Director-General, when, indeed, there is a substantive Acting Director-General in person of Dr Francis Chizea Dubem?

• Our coalition has it on good authority that the only reason why Halidu is to be named as Acting Director-General, according to him, is because he is a relation to the Chief of Staff to the President. Due to the foregoing, he continuously brags that whether he merits it or not, he would be confirmed the Director-General of the agency. If this is confirmed, it will be viewed as man’s inhumanity to man; and very unpatriotic action to the collective growth of the Nigerian nation; as against natural justice, equity and good conscience. Consequently, justice must be seen to have been served on this vexed issue, if the present Acting Director-General, Dr Chizea Dubem is confirmed and left to continue, instead of bringing Mr Halidu Shaba from the back door to assume leadership, to reap where he did not sow. It is, indeed, an act of nepotism, inhumanity, and, indeed, a slap on our collective conscience and psyche as a people of the region in particular and Nigeria in general, for accepting mediocrity in place of merit.

• We have watched, with keen interest, the retirement of the Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Muhammadu Gana Abdullahi, where a South-Easterner, Hilary Madu, was made an acting Commandant-General and immediately, a petition came that he was out for ethnic cleansing; and within three weeks, he was dropped and replaced with a North-easterner, while the Inspector-General of Police’s tenure ended but is still there serving, calling shots, because he is from a particular region and ethnic tribe. What a country, indeed!

• It is our candid advice that the President, should, as a matter of national interest, revert to status quo, and set aside the letter sent to the National Assembly and do the right thing, by confirming Dr Chizea, who is far more capable than Mr Halidu.

• The NDCJE appropriately urges Niger Deltans, South-South indigenes, and, indeed, Nigerians to rise up and condemn this injustice in all its form meted out to a fellow Nigerian. However, if there is any doubt about our status as Nigerians, we should be made to understand and President Buhari should do the rightful and make this very important decision by appointing Dr Chizea as the substantive DG of NARSDA. By the way, Dr Chizea is a foundation staff and it is even on record that the office property that NARSDA first used was his father’s personal property. And, apart from being a scientist and researcher of international repute, he is a patriot and when NARSDA was not recognized, he was able to convince his father to let his property to NARSDA for use. If we must ask: is this the price he has to pay for been patriotic? Where is the reward for excellence? Where is the reward for hard work?

• The entire Niger Delta/South-South geopolitical regions, and Nigerians at large, are eager to know the reasons behind this act. It is also our candid advice that constructive investigations should be carried out to ascertain who is the authentic Acting-Director General of NARSDA, before they bring in any one from the backdoor to a position he does not even merit in the first instance; for which he did not work for. Why must Nigeria take itself backwards by clamouring for mediocrity in place of meritocracy?

Signed:

Alaowe Preye Dokubo Comrade Olisa Ode Osundi
National Coordinator National Secretary

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Opinion

That failed kidnap attempt on Sunday Igboho

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That failed kidnap attempt on Sunday Igboho

By Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb, LL.M, Ph. D, LL.D

The act of a combined team of soldiers, DSS and Police, numbering about 40 attempted to arrest and detain Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemo Igboho was too much in the form of a kidnap attempt. Igboho was said to have been waylaid along Ibadan/Lagos Expressway whilst on his way to see Pa Ayo Adebanjo in Lagos. It was totally and absolutely unnecessary. A government exists to protect its citizens, not to terrorise them. If the government believed that Sunday Igboho had committed an offence, the best route would have been to simply send him an invitation to report to a Police station for interrogation.
If the security agents felt there were any internal security issues or breach of the law, they should have invited him to the DSS or Police office. It became therefore totally absurd that a whole security armada like soldiers, the Police and the DSS will waylay an innocent Nigerian citizen in a commando-like manner and attempt to abduct him. At least, Nigerians have not been told he has committed an offence, or what offence, if any.
What if Sunday Igboho and his handlers had felt they were being kidnapped and responded with a shootout? There would have been unnecessary mayhem and loss of lives because of the indecent and incongruous manner and way the attempted arrest was carried out.
What the government does not still seem to understand is that because it has failed to give security and welfare to the Nigerian people as provided for in Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution, ethnic nationalism is fast rising in a way that ethnic groups and the various nationalities in the Nigerian contraption have begun to feel that they need to go the extra mile to protect themselves from ravaging insecurity. That is why I always ask, who is advising this government?

The present ravaging insecurity is what led to the emergence of Amotekun, in the South West and the Eastern Security Network in the South East. There have also mushroomed various local policing militias across the country. It is the failure of the government to provide security that is at the root cause of these defensive measures.
Someone needs to drum it to the ears of this government that the young man with a tattooed face that proudly displays his tribal marks is no longer an ordinary “small boy” representing himself alone. He has become a metaphor for the Yoruba struggle for self-determination. At least, if you are not giving us self-determination, do not kill us in our homes and farms, the young man seems to be yearning on behalf of the Yoruba race.
Sunday Igboho is no longer ordinary. He is the equivalent of IPOB’s Nnamdi Kanu for the Igbos. He came out from nowhere to become the voice of the voiceless. He wears the new face of the Yoruba struggle for emancipation. The earlier this government understands this, the better for everybody.
Sunday Igboho from Igboho town recently came to national limelight when he stormed Igangan on January 15, 2021, and gave a quit notice to Fulani herders terrorizing his people in the Southwest through kidnappings and killings. Igboho was said to have earlier risen to fame during the Ife-Modakeke fratricidal war in which he played a major role between 1997 and 1998. Born in Igboho of Oke-Ogun area of Oyo state on October 10, 1972, he had relocated to Modakeke in Osun state. He started life as a roadside motorcycle mechanic and later ventured into car sales. Upon return to Ibadan, he met former Oyo state Governor, Lam Adesina, and also worked with Rashidi Adedoja. The Akoni Oodua of Yoruba land is the new face of the Yoruba struggle for emancipation, self-determination and racial respect. Does the federal government realize this? Igboho is believed by his teeming admires to possess magical powers that lift him beyond mere mortals like you and I. So famed was he that, a 2017 Yoruba Movie (Parts 1-4) by the same name “Sunday Igboho” was cast after his personality. Does this government appreciate these peoples’ sentiments?

WAY FORWARD
Sunday Igboho can approach a court of law under the Fundamental Rights Enforcement (Procedure) Rules and seek protection from being killed, arrested, being waylaid, being detained and having his humanity degraded. He can go to court to seek his fundamental rights that he is entitled to freedom of movement, freedom of association and the right to move about and across Nigeria to any part that he wishes, without let or hindrance. See sections 32, 33, 35, 40 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution.
A court of law will readily grant him that protection because it has not been shown that he has committed any offence; and none is alleged against him. If any has been alleged against him, then they could invite him over to make a statement. We are operating a constitutional democracy where things are done by the rule of law; not rule of the thumb.
This government is too jerky. It embraces too much fire brigade approach to issues. That is the danger in it. The government must know that if they had killed Sunday Igboho yesterday, may be with a stray bullet, or by mistake, or deliberately, I don’t think Nigeria would have been having a nice weekend today.
The government should understand this. Let them understand that there is anger, despondency. There is fear across the country; fear of death, fear of fear. So, they (the DSS and the Police) should never attempt to do what they did yesterday (Friday) so as not to trigger unnecessary national hoopla, national insurrection, national commotion, national brouhaha. I have said my own.

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Opinion

When will Nigeria be finally abducted?

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When will Nigeria be finally abducted?

By Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb, LL.M, Ph. D, LL.D

INTRODUCTION
Is Nigeria not being abducted by Boko haram bandits, herders, kidnappers, armed robbers and terrorists? The scenario is frightening and heart-rending. Let us see.
CHIBOK, BORNO STATE, 14TH – 15TH APRIL, 2014.
276 school girls abducted by dreaded Boko Haram insurgents. Former president Goodluck Jonathan was almost roasted alive. The present government’s leading lights harped on it. The then candidate Buhari of APC and other APC stalwarts salivated over the fatal blow to GEJ’s presidency by this singular unfortunate incident. 112 so far released on payment of undisclosed huge ransom. Fast forward. Buhari clinched power and was sworn in on May 29, 2015, with the most outstanding campaign promise (aside revamping the economy and killing corruption), being to lead from the front (as a retired former military Head of State); and crush Boko Haram. Nigerians believed him. Afterall, he fought at the war front during the 3 year bloody Nigerian-Biafran civil war.
However, let us see Buhari’s ugly tale of the tape: Dapchi, Yobe state. 110 school girls abducted on February 19, 2018. 110 have been released on huge ransom (the exact amount of which the Buhari government has refused to tell us till date). 6 are still held, including beautiful Leah Sharibu, who refused to recant his Christian faith.
Kankara, Katsina state; 340 school children abducted in December, 2020, by about 100 Boko Haram bandits riding motocycles. They were all released after payment of huge sums (amount not disclosed till date by an ever opaque government). Big business. More lucrative than citing industries or setting up banks. Dangote that goes to bank to take huge loans to remain the forbes richest man in Africa will no doubt be envious and green with envy.
Kagara, Niger state. 42 people, which included 27 students, 3 staff of Government Science Secondary School and 12 of their family members abducted. Till now, they are held by the bandits. Then, only yesterday, Zamfara State Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, was their next port of call. About 315 of the 500 boarded students were abducted. Governor Bello Matawalle who has so far done excellently well on security matters, and in pushing back armed bandits, is optimistic they would be released without ransom.
A common thread and trend: Girls schools are targeted. Weaker vessels. Not boys schools! Huge sums demanded as ransom. Payment made. Girls (not all) suddenly released. Bandits and Boko Haram smile to their hides out. They purchase more weapons. They wait a while. Strike again. Circle repeats itself. No Federal Government in sight. Oh, it is in sight – but only in boasting that it will fish out the bandits and stop further re-ocurrence. That is the end. How many students so far abducted? 276 under Jonathan. 807 under Buhari. Over 1000. This country is in a complete mess. Worse than ever before. So, when will Nigeria be finally abducted?

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