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Over 17,000 babies born in 18 Borno IDP camps in two years – IOM

the agency collaborates with the National Population Commission and UNICEF to issue birth certificates

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has said that 17,053 babies were given birth to by Internally Displaced Persons in 18 locations in Borno state alone.

The UN agency said the figure represents information of babies who have been registered between 2019 to May 2021.

Mr Frantz Celestin, the IOM Chief of Mission, told journalists during a Breakfast meeting with the media that the agency collaborates with the National Population Commission and UNICEF to issue birth certificates to the children.

According to him, the identity of the children was very important and also falls within its Displacement Matrix data which it shares with other stakeholders intervening in the North East.

“We do biometric data collection so that we know exactly the number of people who have been displaced so that the service we provide to them can be effective.

“This is important for food distribution, for non-food items distribution, it is also important for medical provision.

“Some of the work that we do on our displacement matrix data is to work with the population commission and UNICEF to provide birth certificates to those under five who were born in the camps.

“On the number of children that were born in the camps, I know last time I checked, those we had taken the biometrics and issued with birth certificates between 2019 and May 2021 were 17,053,” he said.

The IOM’s Chief said the data helps it to identify those who have been displaced, adding that “if you don’t have an identity you do not exist in the eyes of the government and the law”.

‘29,000 Africans migrated’

The IOM said that 29,000 individuals, including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.

About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants perished in the sea.

Mr Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.

‘Mali, destination for Nigerian women’

He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.

Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.

Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.

“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them.

“We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database.

“We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.