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Nigerian govt to begin repatriation of refugees from Cameroon

The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, NCRFIM, said on Monday that the agency had almost concluded arrangements to repatriate Nigerian refugees from Cameroon.

NCRFIM Federal Commissioner, Sadiya Farouq, disclosed this during the Second Regional Protection Dialogue on the Lake Chad Basin in Abuja.

Mrs Farouq said a lot was being done to provide care, maintenance and livelihoods support to urban refugees in different parts of the country.

“Equally, we have increased the pace of registration, documentation and addressing of nationality issues of affected persons, adding “especially the new arrivals from Cameroon.

“We have been providing care and maintenance support to meet the material, protection and livelihood needs of the refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in different locations as well as Nigerian refugees in Cameroon.

“We have equally developed the Convention Travel Document for Refugees to take the routine refugees status determination to a higher level.

“We have established new field offices and expanded existing ones in the six geopolitical zones of the country in order to enhance our capacity to provide protection and support services to persons of concern wherever they may be in Nigeria,” she said.

Mrs Farouq noted that significant progress has been made in ending the Boko Haram insurgency.

The commissioner, however, said that the humanitarian situation was still “disturbing.”

According to her, Nigeria had demonstrated its commitment to implementing the Abuja Action Summit.

“We have upheld the tenets of the ‘Action Statement’, by promoting collaboration and effective coordination of efforts, especially in the area of freedom of movement and documentation, right to nationality, addressing protection risks, and provision of solutions.

” I am confident that with the readiness of UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, and the demonstrable commitment of the Governments of Niger, Chad and Cameroon as well as other humanitarian actors operating in the region.

“We will continue to work toward meeting all the protection and other needs of the persons of concern under our care.

“This is one obligation that we cannot fail to meet, together we shall succeed.

“According to the International Organisation for, IOM, as at July 2018, regional displacement tracking matrix, there were 4.32 million persons of concern in the region comprising of the IDPs, refugees, both in and out of camp returnees,” Mrs Farouq said.

The Abuja Action Statement on Protection was declared and adopted in June 2016

Four nations in the Lake Chad Basin region namely: Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon Republics, under the technical facilitation of the UNHCR jointly agreed to address the needs of refugees.

The four nations agreed to proactively enhance protection and respond to the urgent needs of refugees, IDPs and other affected populations in the region.

The Minister of Interior, Abdulraham Dambazau, in his presentation, enumerated the Federal Government’s achievements on the 2016 action statement.

The minister was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Mohammed Umar.

He said Nigeria is collaborating with UNHCR through the Technical Working Group to actualise the voluntary repatriation of the refugees in safety and dignity.

Mr Dambazau said in line with international best practices, biometric capturing of IDPs/Nigerian returnees from Chad, Cameroon and Niger was conducted before resettling them.

He said that government has ensured ongoing capacity building workshops on strengthening state actors’ response to sexual and gender based violence, sexual agencies in four states in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno and Gombe.

He further said that a tripartite agreement for voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon was signed in March 2017.

He said the military and para-military have collaborated in providing escorts to and during relief material distribution.


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