The Executive Secretary of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Tony Ojukwu Esq has charged the security agencies to raise the bar in addressing the protection challenges of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Returnees and other vulnerable groups in the North East.
Ojukwu gave this charge in Abuja while reacting to the outcome of the meeting/Interface between the NHRC, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR), Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other relevant humanitarian actors and Stakeholders with protection mandate in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
Ojukwu said it was regrettable that the nation was confronted with the challenge of insurgency but we must all play our unique roles to provide adequate support for the vulnerable population in the society so that they can also live a meaningful life.
He said “our interaction with the population of concern and the report we get from the fields show that majority of them suffer serious health challenges some of which claim their lives”. While making reference to the serious health challenges confronting IDPs in Kukareta, Yobe State which has continued to claim the lives of pregnant women and children, Ojukwu said some locations in the state do not yet have the presence of security personnel or law Courts and this has aggravated crime and criminality especially cases of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in those locations.
The men take advantage of the vulnerability of the women and children and abuse them and yet, these cases cannot be reported because the victims and their families cannot afford transport fare to convey them and the perpetrators to very far locations where there may be courts or security presence to report the matter. Some of them who take the pain to report such cases are forced to withdraw them due to threat, cultural beliefs or abject poverty.
Ojukwu further stated that the Commission has recorded so many of such cases from monitors in the field and we have also interfaced with some of them and really found the situation very pathetic. We are trying to get the commitment of the state governments to come to the aid of these Vulnerable people, the Adamawa state governor Ahmadu Fintiri has pledged his commitment but we are yet to meet and get the commitment of Borno and Yobe State governments, he said.
Ojukwu used this medium to commend the some MDAs, INGOs and NGOs especially FIDA and NBA for assisting in the protection of the rights of the vulnerable populations in these communities especially with respect to access to justice in cases of sexual and gender based violence and other protection issues thrown up by the insurgency and displacements in the North East Nigeria.