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Minister: No state in Nigeria without IDPs

…FEC okays digital registration of 3m IDPs

…approves N62bn for road linking Kano, Katsina states

The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, yesterday said that there was none of the 36 states of the Federation that did not have Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). That was as the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the registration of about 3 million IDPs now taking refuge in camps nationwide.

Briefing newsmen yesterday after the Council meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, Pantami said that, “there is no single state in the country without IDPs; the highest is in Borno State with 1.4 million and the lowest is Ondo State with 1,024 persons.”

He further explained that the registration was to enable the Federal Government to fully capture their accurate number and make adequate provisions for their well-being. He added that the Council also approved the establishment of the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre.

Speaking on the need for the identification policy for IDPs, the Minister said the Council considered the fact that providing for the IDPs adequately required data, adding that getting registered in the national database of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) was mandatory by law.

“As we all know that National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) Act 2007 has made it mandatory that each citizen must require a National Identity Number, according to the Act’s section 5, and section 27 emphases that it could be an offence not to acquire the number. “Most of us here do not have the number, but they have at least, a form of identification, an official one; either driver’s license, passport for travelling and many more, but people in IDP camps do not have those usually. So, we come up with a policy that will prioritise providing national identity to people living in IDP camps.

The policy has been entitled as National Policy for Digital Identification for Internally Displaced Persons. “This digital ID will support government in knowing the total number of our IDPs, budgetary provision on how to take care of them, national planning with regards to their education, health and many more.

“When it comes to social intervention being provided by the Federal Government through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, government will have an upto- date record of IDPs; their number, their location and everything and government will reach out to them easily through that database that is going to be domiciled at the National Identity Management Commission. “Based on the report during the formulation of the policy, we have around three million people living in IDP camps in Nigeria, which is more than 1 per cent of our population.

“This is a policy that will provide an up-to-date record of them so that government will give them special consideration of resettling them and taking care of them. As we all know, no matter how strong you are, if you fail to take care of the weak ones, then automatically, you are also a weak one.

This is why we came up with the policy to prioritise them”, he said. Concerning the establishment of the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre in Abuja, which is in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Pantami said the programme would address the challenges of unemployment and citizens’ employability.

According to him, the programme, which would be run by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) would provide training platform for millions of Nigerians in the digital innovation and entrepreneurship interests.

“We came up with this plan to establish a digital innovation and entrepreneurship centre where millions of our citizens are going to be trained as entrepreneurs, particularly in ICT, so that they will be future potential employers rather than being employees.

“This is, somehow, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They have a programme they call Regional Entrepreneurship Accelerated Programme (REAP), where they support a country or an institution to produce many entrepreneurs in the area of their choice. “So, our focus, looking at our mandate in the ministry, is on the development of ICT and this centre is going to be managed by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), while the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is going to provide the policy direction for the centre and to supervise the implementation of the policy. It is going to be completed in three years”, he added.

Meanwhile, FEC also approved N62 billion for the construction of Kano- Dawakin Tofa-Gwarzo road linking Kano and Katsina states. Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who also briefed newsmen yesterday, said: “The Ministry of Works and Housing presented one memorandum for the construction of Kano-Dawakin Tofa-Gwarzo-Dayi road and it was approved for N62.7 billion, to be executed in 24 months.”

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the council also approved the introduction of platonic medical records and management for the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS. He said the platform will help manage payments and claims as well as health records of patients to enhance transparency and accountability.

“The Ministry of Health presented a memo on behalf of the National Health Insurance Scheme, to introduce platonic medical records and management in a concept known as e-NHIS, creating an electronic governance platform. “This will allow interoperability with all other stakeholders, including particularly the State Health Insurance Schemes, Health Management Organisations and hospitals who offer services to patients.

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