Nigeria to ensure safe return of its refugees

Rahila Lassa,Abuja


The Nigerian Government says it is determined to ensure that its refugees are returned to the country in safety and dignity.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq said this in Abuja, Nigeria, when a delegation from the United Nations High Commission For Refugees, UNHCR, paid her a working visit.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Bashir Alkali, the Minister said that one of the Ministry’s priorities was to sustain the process of bringing back the refugees which includes development of sustainable home-grown models for rehabilitation, reintegration, and reconstruction.

“Being the coordinating 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 a coordinated and coherent approach.

“To ensure the provision of a sustainable durable solution, the Ministry in collaboration with relevant organizations has launched a home grown strategy, the Humanitarian Peace Development Framework, in line with global best practices and in tandem with the President Buhari’s Administration’s plan.

“The Nigerian Government is poised towards ensuring the voluntary return of Nigeria Refugees in neighbouring countries as a result of the activities of Boko Haram ,and we are committed to implementing this ,in line with international best practices. The Nigeria government is presently hosting a large number of Refugees from neighbouring countries and we are working hard in collaboration with UNHCR to provide adequate protection to the refugees and the asylum seekers”. She explained

Earlier, the leader of the UNHCR delegation and Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, Raouf Mazou thanked the Government of Nigeria for guiding them through their tour of IDP camps in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, stating that their visit was to interact with the Federal Government and share ideas and views on some of the humanitarian challenges.

“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. 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 Borno State Government on the return of some refugees. In Niger Republic, there are 170,000 Nigerian Refugees and 16,000 in the Republic of Chad. Some of them may want to come back to Nigeria, so how do we ensure that they can come back and what form of support systems and security needs to be in place for them to come back.

“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”. Mazou noted

Earlier, the Federal Commissioner, Refugees, Migrants and IDP in Nigeria,  Imaan Suleiman-Ibrahim congratulated the UNHCR on the 70th commemoration of the 1951 Convention and applauded the cordial collaboration between the Commission and UNHCR in Nigeria.

Mrs Suleiman-Ibrahim acknowledged the ongoing registration of over 70,000 Cameroonian Refugees in Nigeria

“I am happy to report that Nigeria has one of the best working processes for Refugees and Asylum seekers by ensuring that cases are looked into holistically and in a timely fashion to ensure that there are no backlogs in the system.

The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Armed Forces and the Multi – Joint Task Forces has been relentless in the fight against the insurgents – Boko Haram and ISWAP to ensure that areas of return are secured and now IDPs and returnees are being resettled in safety and dignity”. She added

The Delegation included the Country Representative at UNHCR, Chansa Kapaya, Nigeria’s Deputy Representative (Protection) at UNHCR, John McKissick and the Refugee Status Determination(RSD) Unit ·(NCFRMI), Mr Murdakai Titus.



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