… Says Implementation of IHL Will Improve Access To IDPs
Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation, Abuja, said the agency provide support to enable displaced persons return and sustenance of a means of livelihood upon their return to their homes or community.
In north-east Nigeria, about 2 million persons have been displaced, some twice, 70 percent of which were hosted by communities devoid of adequate resources to sustain them. ICRC provided 6,000 IDPs via agricultural cooperatives machinery and tools to begin and increase their agricultural production; while over 9,600 people, and displaced widows received cash and basic training on small businesses in 2017. In 2016, 282, 381 north-east and middle-belt returnees received agricultural inputs to resume farming, 42,024 returnees in Adamawa State and southern Borno, received grants, with 250 women in the latter, including widows received training and grants to embark on economic activities.
Speaking to legislators at the session, Head of the International Committee on Red Cross (ICRC), Nigeria, Eloi Fillion highlighted the importance of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), in the containment of internally displaced persons, as well as the role of the ICRC as intermediaries in conflict situations.
Fillion said the ICRC offered immediate survival support such as food and medical aid thousands of families in the north-east Nigeria. He also said that beyond providing initial survival support for conflict victims, the ICRC will be supporting the re-integration of displaced persons, via provision of seedling to enable return to their farming, fishing and grants for small businesses, upon their return to their communities.
The ICRC played an intermediary role in the handover of the Chibok girls to Nigeria military, last October and in May 7, 2017.
In spite of recorded successes, Fillion says there are more displaced persons than there is aid. About 24,000 IDPs at camps in Borno State, live in 4000 temporary and emergency shelters.
He advised ECOWAS governments implementation of the IHL, which all 15 member states are signatory to as means to improving humanitarian organs access to prisoners, the wounded, the sick and displaced persons in the community.
“The IHL marks a clear distinction between military targets and civilian assets, in order to avoid as much as possible, the hitting of civilian interests and civilians themselves during acts of combat. It also allows wounded and sick victims, and prisoners access to healthcare and services that encourage their survival.”
He also said governments, militaries and all conflict parties’ signatory to the IHL treaties, are required to adhere to it.
Meantime, Nigeria has ratified a commendable number of the treaties under the IHL, though is yet to domesticate them, meantime, IHL is taught in 4th and 5th year Law departments of 26 higher institutions in the country.