The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) will soon close down Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps so as to encourage the occupants to start living their normal lives.
Alhaji Alhassan Aliyu, NEMA’s North-Central Zonal Coordinator, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Jos that IDPs camps were only meant to provide temporary reliefs.
``The camps are established to provide temporary relief for the IDPs; they are not permanent havens. The people should always be encouraged to go back to their respective homes and start living their normal lives after sometime.
``Government doesn’t encourage IDPs camps to remain open for a long period and that is why after sometime, these camps are closed down, usually after about one month.
``Even in war situations and whenever disaster strikes, everybody is looking for a refuge and that is why the camps are established mostly by states to provide a safe haven for the people, with all the security provided.”
Aliyu stressed that the maintenance of IDPs camps in the country was quite expensive, as the occupants were given food, clothing and shelter which could not be sustained for a long time.He particularly noted that the Nasarawa governor had to close down some IDPs camps in January this year because they had constituted a very big burden to the state government.
``Some camps, after awhile, will not have real IDPs actually. People, from outside usually troop into these camps because of the food or relief materials that are being provided.
``Government cannot continue to deceive itself; it cannot continue to provide relief over a long period. We don’t encourage this because people will take undue advantage of the situation and abuse it.”
The coordinator said that the Benue government had been discouraging IDPs camps and had been encouraging the camps’ residents to go back to their normal lives, while assuring them of security.
``This will relieve the government the burden of providing relief to many others not affected by any catastrophe and those who will still be coming into the camps, even long after the disaster.”
Aliyu said that only five IDPs camps currently existed in Nasarawa State.
``No IDPs camp lasts more than a month. None currently exists in Plateau, for instance; they have all been closed down, while the IDPs are now being accommodated by individual families or churches,” he said.
The NEMA official, nonetheless, noted that the latest introduction of bombings into the catalogue of disasters and conflicts had put more strain on NEMA’s resources.
He urged Nigerians to live in peace with one another. (NAN)