The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has assured that the House of Representatives is putting all legislative structures in place to ensure that the rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are protected at all times.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan, said the Speaker gave this assurance while receiving a delegation from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) in his office on Monday.
Speaking on Nigeria’s domestication and ratification of the UN Kampala treaty on the rights of refugees, the speaker said efforts are on top gear by the relevant committees to conclude all work on the document and submit in plenary for further legislative action.
Dogara explained that “The bill for the proposed North East Commission and the Kampala Commission are before the commission and sooner or later, the report will be brought before the House in plenary for consideration and hopefully we’ll pass it and in no distant time, it will be ratified.”
He also informed the delegation that the House, in recognition of the plight of IDPs and the need for their rehabilitation and resettlement, and to find lasting solutions to the problem, set up a committee that is in charge of IDP related issues, as well as passed a bill to set up the North East Development Commission.
Dogara further added that it is not acceptable that the over 2 million displaced persons are asked to return to their communities until the causative factors are sorted out and security provided in the affected areas.
“There is no way we can do that unless we bring the conflict to an end and it makes no sense, absolutely no sense, for anybody to insist that people displaced should go back to their communities, knowing that chances are there that they may be attacked and then the conditions that gave rise to the crisis are not totally eliminated,” he stated.
The speaker also noted that there is no way that democracy can thrive if the lives of citizens are not secure.
“As it is said, democracy is a promise that deals with life and the pursuit of happiness. All other promises of democracy cannot come through unless there is life so that is the most important promise of democracy.”
Earlier, leader of the UNHCR delegation, Assistant High Commissioner in charge of protection of rights of refugees and IDPs, Mr Volke Turk, urged the speaker to expedite action on the domestication and ratification of the UN convention on the protection of the rights of refugees in the House of Representatives.
He said the ratification of the treaty will be an “extremely valuable contribution” to the protection of the rights of refugees.