UN, FG parley on return of 186,000 Nigeria refugees in Niger, Chad
United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Geneva (UNHCR) has met with the Federal Government to strategise on how to provide support systems and security for over 186,000 Nigerian refugees in Niger Republic and Chad.
UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, Raouf Mazou, who led a delegation to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq, stated that in Niger Republic, there were 170,000 Nigerian refugees and 16,000 others in Chad.
While informing the Minister that some Nigerian refugees in neighbouring countries might want to return home, the UN coordinator requested to know the modalities the government had put in place towards their return.
“This visit is first to express our solidarity. This is a difficult situation. In Borno particularly, there are close to three million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). From the humanitarian point of view, this is a very serious problem that the country is facing, which requires the support of the international communities.
“We also came to discuss with the state government of Borno on the return of some refugees.
“We also want to ensure that those already in the country receive assistance and if possible, included and integrated in the support that is available for the host population,” he said.
Manzou thanked the Federal Government for guiding them through their tour of IDP camps in Maiduguri, stating that their visit was to interact with the government and share ideas and views on some of the humanitarian challenges.
Responding, Farouq informed the delegation that the government was determined to ensure that Nigerian refugees were returned to the country safely and with dignity.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Bashir Nura Alkali, the minister said that one of the ministry’s priorities was to sustain the process of bringing back the refugees, which includes developing sustainable homegrown models for rehabilitation, reintegration and reconstruction.
“Being the coordination agency, the Ministry has facilitated the adoption of national policies including the IDP policy, which incorporated the provisions of the Kampala Convention. The policy is an overarching framework that guides operations while ensuring coordinated and coherence approach.
“To ensure the provision of a sustainable, durable solution, the ministry in collaboration with relevant organisations has launched a homegrown strategy, the Humanitarian Peace Development Framework, in line with global best practices and in tandem with the President Buhari administration plan.
“The Nigeria government is poised towards ensuring the voluntary return of Nigerian refugees in neighbouring countries as a result of the activities of Boko Haram and we are committed to implement this in line with international best practices,” he said.