By Jacinta Nwachukwu
Some stakeholders in the humanitarian sector have restated their commitment towards providing durable solution to displaced persons in the country.
They expressed the concern during a road walk on Monday in Abuja in commemoration of the 2023 World Refugee Day with the theme “Hope away from home”.
Hajiya Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, the Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), said that Nigeria had recorded a lot of milestones and there were still a lot to be done.
Sulaiman-Ibrahim said that the Federal Government had been supportive in providing succor to persons of concern in the country.
She said that the aim of the programme was to recap on the journey so far and the future for refugee management in the country.
According to Sulaiman-Ibrahim, there are over 90,000 refugees from about 34 countries in Nigeria and the number was changing everyday.
“We have recorded a lot of milestones and there are still a lot to be done, we have a lot of policies in place, and we are still going to strengthen the internal framework.
“The theme of this year is apt, that is what the programme represents, giving them hope away from home. They flee for safety, from area of persecution.
“So, it is paramount that they build a home and also rebuild their hope, so whatever programme we are putting in place is to ensure that we help to strengthen their resilience and coping mechanism,” she said.
While commending the partners, the commissioner restated that the Federal Government would continue to strengthen its partnership with relevant stakeholders.
Similarly, Ms Bernadette Muteshi, the Deputy Representative of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said that the essence of the event was to commemorate the plight of refugees, people who fled their countries because of persecution.
Muteshi also expressed worry that in spite of all the efforts made so far by countries, the number of displaced persons kept on increasing.
“Ten years ago in 2013, we had 51.2 million people displaced, 10 years on today, we have 110 million people displaced globally.
“So, the situation is becoming dire which requires that we reinforce our efforts and give all the support that we can to hold back the trend.
“We do not want the numbers to go up, we want the numbers to come down and each of us can contribute in supportive and lending to that course,” she said.
To improve on the situation, Muteshi said that countries should adopt a legal framework that support all the other related support that can be followed from the time a refugee arrived at a border.
She said that there should be access to the country’s facilities to register and document them to ensure that they are legally protected in whatever asylum country they find themselves.
“Ensuring that they have basic assistance but more importantly ensuring that they also share in the national and social services such as education, health and other means of restarting their lives again.
“We are calling on awareness of the international communities not to forget these categories of people because they all need our support.
“They are people just like us, they have dreams and aspirations, and they were not able to fulfill them in their countries of origin for various reasons – war, conflict or persecutions,” Muteshi said.
She said the refugees are here to seek support until they are able to go back home or find some other durable solutions.
Muteshi said this was because anyone could be a refugee.
“So when you bear that in mind, it holds upon us to lend the human hand and be cognizant of the fact that nobody chooses to be a refugee,” she added.
On her part, Mrs Blessing Onu, a member, representing Otukpo Federal Constituency, Benue, said that in Benue there were good number of refugees’ camps including internally displaced persons.
“They are being catered for, nobody wishes for war or the situation that they are in but we are trying as much as we could to strengthen the policies that protect them and refugees,” Onu said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Refugee Day is an international day organised on June 20 every year to celebrate and honour refugees from around the world. (NAN)(www.nanews.ng)
Edited by Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Razak Owolabi