President Muhammadu Buhari says 70% of over five million people so far displaced in the Lake Chad Basin are Nigerians, IgbereTV reports
Buhari made the disclosure while addressing the 16th African Union Extraordinary Session of Assembly of Heads of State and Government on Humanitarian Crises in African and Pledging Conference, which kicked off in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on Friday.
In a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, the President attributed the situation to the violent onslaught by Boko Haram insurgents and other terrorists in the North-East region of Nigeria which had led to the humanitarian crisis.
President Buhari also called for more concerted and institutionalized effort by African governments in ameliorating the suffering of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the continent, saying only “collective and coordinated” approach would make a difference.
The statement reads in part:
“As you are aware, Mr. Chairperson, the world is confronted by emerging threats, such as Climate Change, resulting in global warming, rising levels in waters, in some climes shrinking of rivers and lakes.
“All these lead to distortions in our aquatic and consequently ecological systems. Conflicts, violent extremism and terrorist attacks, including herdsmen-farmers clashes and banditry lead to the displacement of whole communities, thus rendering thousands of people homeless.
“In the North East of Nigeria alone, millions of people have been displaced, as a result of the Climate Change, which caused the shrinking of Lake Chad and subsequent loss of means of livelihood.
“We cannot deny the fact that we have a very dangerous humanitarian crisis in our hands.
“You will agree that this conference could not have come at a better time, considering the challenges posed by the increasing rate of Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees and Returnee Migrants, to our various countries and the continent at large.
“In Nigeria, the humanitarian crisis necessitated the creation of Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, which was designed to provide a national response strategy.
“I am glad to inform Your Excellencies that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs of Nigeria has continued to live up to its mandate in responding quickly to all situations of displaced persons and disaster management.
“The ministry carries out a compulsory school feeding programme in primary schools across the country. This is to ensure that every child gets at least one balanced and nutritious meal daily.
“Through the ministry, government established Internally Displaced Persons camps in every part of the country for refugees, returnee migrants and displaced persons, where food, shelter, clothing, medical care and other livelihood support are provided for all displaced persons.
“The rationale for the establishment of this Agency is to forge a common African position on humanitarian effectiveness and to create an appropriate continental architecture to effectively respond and coordinate humanitarian crises on the continent.