A PATH TOWARDS THE LIBERATION OF INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS
Due to the increase in conflicts and violent crimes over the world, the number of internally displaced persons has seen a significant upsurge. It was estimated that there were 38.2 million IDPs worldwide in 2014; the highest since 1989.
Internally displaced persons or IDPs as they are called are people who are forced to leave their homes and communities because of armed conflicts, disasters, or the fear of prosecution. Unlike refugees, IDPs remain within the borders of their country instead of leaving for abroad.
Because they have to forfeit the pleasures and comfort of their homes, many IDPs lose their property, jobs, businesses, and their means of livelihood. Some lose their families and loved ones. Others even get mortally wounded, emotionally traumatized and some die. Since many IDPs find themselves trapped in areas prone to violence and armed conflicts, it is usually difficult for aid and humanitarian support to reach them. Having been left without a means of livelihood and the unavailability of aid and support, many IDPs find themselves living in terrible situations without access to potable water and other basic amenities.
While many options of liberating IDPs are not realistic, a more feasible alternative is empowerment. Unfortunately, many IDPs in Nigeria are left with little to no hope for a better future.
How can empowerment liberate IDPs especially in Nigeria?
1. BASIC EDUCATION: The first step towards the long journey of empowerment and liberation is education. Knowledge is power and knowledge would give the people the confidence, power, and ability to demand better and achieve change.
2. HEALTH CARE SERVICES: Thousands of IDPs die each year in Nigeria. The deaths of many can be prevented because most of the time, the causes of their deaths can be attributed to their lack of primary medical services. Every human regardless of age, class, or ethnic group must not be deprived of this right. Dead people can not be liberated and if IDPs want to be liberated, they should have access to primary health care services.
3. GOVERNMENT HOUSING PROGRAMS: Shelter is one of man’s basic needs. Without proper accommodation, humans are vulnerable to several threats. A sizable number of IDPs in Nigeria are homeless. Another portion of them live in shacks, tents, or sheds. The opportuned ones who live in good houses are just a mere fraction of the rest. For IDPs to be fully liberated, they must be empowered with good homes with access to potable water and good sewage disposal.
4. SOCIAL UNIONS: Of course, it can’t be a political party or a pressure group but it should be a platform where the opinions of IDPs can be amplified and heard by the government. Many of the complaints of IDPs rarely get the attention they deserve. Many people even forget that there are people called IDPs.Empowering them with their appropriate unions to air their discomforts would make them even more recognized and protected.
5. SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS: Promising students should be awarded scholarships and grants. The psychological effects of wanting to be better, kick in and other young IDPs too would strive to get their grants.
6. SKILL PROGRAMS FOR YOUNG ADULTS: Though there are many skilled workers in Nigeria including IDPs, it is undeniable that some others do not have any skill. Having lost their businesses, many of these young people get indulged in a life of crime to sustain themselves. With proper skill training, many IDPs would become self-sufficient.
With proper education, health care, shelter, and skill acquisition programs, IDPs have all it takes to become liberated and reintegrated into the society and have their days of being internally displaced behind them.