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Saturday, 22 June 2019


The Honourable Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Hajiya Sa'adiya Umar Farouq has called on world bodies to stop the on-going conflicts and crisis around the globe.

In an emotion-laden address delivered on her behalf by NCRMI's South-west Zonal Head, Mrs. Margaret Ukegbu at the Ijebu Ode celebration, to commemorate the World Refugee Day, Hajiya Farouq said, "everyday, members of the International Community, Humanitarian Organizations, Civil Society, and individual citizens work tirelessly to assist these vulnerable populations. But as these efforts are being persistently sustained, across the globe, more people are displaced by rising violence, insecurity and persecution than any other time on record. 

"The scale of this human suffering is almost unimaginable. For me, celebrating these target group today is not enough in the face of given realities, therefore the need for the world to adequately respond to refugees unprecedented challenges is beyond question and requires all of us to do more.

"To do more requires that the root cause of Refugees and IDPs will remain unabated in our contemporary world if conflicts and crisis sustaining it were not resolved and nip at the bud. It is at this point that l wish to appeal to the UN, EU, AU, ECOWAS and all the Stakeholders Organization to up their roles and responsibilities in crisis management especially those hot spots and volatile zone of the world."

The Federal Commissioner however commended international global effort in this direction.
"One of the salient efforts, the International Community must be commended is the advent of Global Compact on Refugees. This Compact presents a political will and ambition of the International community as a whole to strengthen cooperation and solidarity with refugees and affected countries. That the Global Compact is structured its mainstay on easing out pressure of refugees, enhance refuges self-reliance, expand their access to third country solution and support conditions of countries for return in safety and dignity makes the Compact a veritable tools in addressing the plights of refugees."

She highlighted further the challenges faced by insecurity and migration issues, "the Nigerian refugee situation since the advent of Boko Haram attack spilled over the borders of north-eastern Nigeria into neighboring countries in 2014, Cameroon, Chad and Niger got drawn into a devastating regional conflict. The Lake Chad Basin region is grappling with a complex humanitarian emergency. Some 2.4 million people are uprooted, including over 2.1 million internally displaced (IDPs) in North-Eastern Nigeria, over 471,000 IDPs in Cameroon, Chad and Niger and over 228,000 refugees. Despite the efforts of Governments and humanitarian aid, some 4.5 million people remain food insecure and depend on assistance.

"Recently Nigeria has witnessed an upsurge in the number of asylum seekers and refugees it receives mostly from countries such as Cameroon, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Syria, Turkey, Eritrea etc. Out of these, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Turkey and Syria have the highest presence in Nigeria where much attention has been given to them. There has been remarkable influx of Cameroonians in Cross-River state, Taraba state, Benue State and other surrounding locations. Presently, over 35,000 Cameroonian refugees have been granted Temporary Protection Status (TPS) in Nigeria. This is in addition to 261 urban refugees and 290 asylum seekers living in other parts of Nigeria."

She commended President Mohammadu Buhari's administration for the support for, "what we are doing as a Commission for the refugees. "This includes, but not limited to: distribution of various food, non-food items, educational pack, water sanitation, shelter materials, Agricultural input and medical care; trained and retraining of Refugees on various skill acquisition; provide accommodation and help the refugees settled within their host community; fight for their rights to safety, dignity and long-term livelihood empowerment scheme; enrollment of the refugees into the National Health Insurance Scheme, provide variety of lifesaving assistance, safety and protection; and durable solution.

"In addition, in collaboration with UNHCR, the NCFRMI has commenced the process of issuing the Refugee Convention Travel Documents (CTDs) to refugees. A total of 178 refugees have been referred to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) for bio-metric capturing. The Commission is in close contact with the NIS and production is ongoing. Those already produced will soon be issued to the beneficiaries upon official unveiling.

"Above all, l wish to state that the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Republic of Cameroon and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in 2017, signed a Tripartite Agreement to facilitate the return of about 97,000 refugees from Cameroon to Borno and Adamawa States. Nigeria was tasked with facilitating the return of the refugees in safety and dignity, care and maintenance of the returnees as well as provision of durable solution to enable them resettle in Nigeria. In the spirit of the Agreement, the TWG has concluded arrangements to commence voluntary repatriation of 4000 refugees (first batch) after Mr. President has graciously approved both funding and logistics towards the repatriation. In line with this, the TWG has made advanced plans towards the repatriation to Adamawa State, however, the Cameroonian government requested to be given more time for planning to enable all stakeholders involved in this repatriation achieve a better synergy.

"Let me seize this opportunity to specifically appreciate the UNHCR for scaling up its response and for working with NCFRMI and other authorities in Nigeria towards ensuring that displaced people and returning refugees regain a sense of normal life. This is commendable.

"Let me also use this opportunity to specially thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his regime’s commitment towards the plights of the Refugees and other Persons of Concern in Nigeria. His unwavering support to the refugees and other POCs remain the corner stone of our success story today. I must acknowledge the role of our Security Agencies, Local and International partners, Civil Society Organization, Embassies, Faith and Community based Organizations, the Security Agencies, Traditional leaders and indeed members of the Press to our Persons of Concern. We commend your unflinching support in partnering with the Commission and Nigeria Government.

"As l will always say, no one and none of us deserve to be a Refugee or live in Refugee Camps. Those that are there today have been forced by circumstances. To this end, we must know that assisting refugees and those in need is a part of our value system as a Country and we must join force together to take a step with refugees and strive even harder to alleviate their suffering," She added.

The theme for the 2019 World Refugee Day is #StepWithRefugees which is in alignment with the African Union (AU) Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa. This year’s theme, presupposes that around the world, communities, schools, businesses, faith groups and people from all walks of life are taking big and small steps in solidarity with refugees. 

The event held at the Otunba Dipo Dina Stadium in Ijebu Ode, Ogun state, NIgeria, also witnessed other activities including a novelty match.

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