UN pledges more support for displaced people

By Timothy Choji, Abuja

Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in the North-east zone of Nigeria, have a reason to smile as the United Nations has pledged more support for them.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr Filippo Grandi revealed this in Abuja, while speaking exclusively to VON’s State House correspondent, shortly after a visit to Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

Mr Grandi, who identified food and shelter as the most urgent needs of the IDPs, said that “the UN is very much engaged in support of the effort of the Nigerian government in addressing issues of IDPs. I was there yesterday and I saw how they are in dire need. Probably food security is the most urgent need of these people. They haven’t been able to farm because of the insurgency. Therefore, we need to help them until they can go back to their farms. Likewise, they need shelter because they are in provisional accommodation.”

The UNHCR Commissioner also said the UN would collaborate with Nigeria to address issues bordering on the protection of rights of civilians, especially women and children.

Mr Grandi thanked the Vice President for the positive response he got for all the issues he tabled before him.

“I must say that I got from the Vice President, a very clear sense of the strong engagement of the Nigerian government and the concerned state governments in addressing these matters, and I assured him of the full support of the United Nations,” he said.

He advocated more action on attaining long term solutions to the plight of the displaced persons, to enable them go back to their homes.