The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said there are currently 3.2 million displaced persons in Nigeria.
John McKissick, the UNHCR’s Deputy Representative in Nigeria, disclosed this while speaking after a road walk in Abuja at the weekend to mark the 2022 World Refugee Day.
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He said the 3.2 million displaced persons included some 82,000 refugees, adding that the sum total represented a 9 per cent increase from last year.
“The refugees in Nigeria come from 34 different countries with 94% of them being Cameroonians.
“They are generously hosted in 25 different states in Nigeria, able to access schools, primary health care facilities, vocational and other livelihood opportunities in the communities where they have settled,” he disclosed.
He also said there were over 100 million persons displaced the world over, adding that the theme for this year’s celebration “the right to seek safety” was apt.
McKissick said the idea is that all refugees should be allowed to seek safety no matter who they are and where they are from.
He said UNHCR Nigeria was joining the road walk to educate people on the fundamental right of persons fleeing conflict or persecution to seek safety.
“This is not just a one-off activity for UNHCR during the World Refugee Day celebration, UNHCR continues to sensitize the public and advocate with the government and other relevant stakeholders through sensitization workshops and seminars organized for officials who usually come in contact with refugees and other persons forced to flee persecution,” the UNHCR added.
The Federal Commissioner, National Commission For Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Hon Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, said Nigerians have been accommodative of refugees over the years, charging them to keep up the good deeds.
“We have been a signatory to these treaties since 1951 and we have seen a lot of support from Nigerians.
“We are however looking forward to more cooperation especially from our security agencies knowing that we have obligations towards these refugees.”
She said there is a pilot health programme in place for refugees already, promising that the federal government would soon expand the programme to capture more refugees in Nigeria.
The objectives of this year’s World Refugee Day celebration are to educate people on the fundamental right to seek safety and build a movement of solidarity for refugees across the globe.