By Jacinta Nwachukwu
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) says Nigeria presently hosts 3.2 million displaced persons.
The Deputy Representative of UNHCR, Mr John McKissick, disclosed this during a road walk in Abuja on Friday to commemorate World Refugee Day.
The theme of the 2022 celebration is “the Right to Seek Safety”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe.
June 20 is set aside yearly to celebrate the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution.
McKissick said that the refugees in Nigeria came from 34 different countries with 94 per cent of them being Camerounians.
He added that over 100 million people were forcibly displaced across the world.
“Nigeria currently hosts 3.2 million displaced persons, including some 82,000 refugees and some 3.1 million representing a 9 per cent increase from last year.
“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.
“The core message is that whoever they are, wherever they come from and whenever they are forced to flee, they have the right to seek safety,” McKissick said.
He explained that the agency sought to educate people on the fundamental right to seek safety and build a movement of solidarity for refugees across the globe.
“The UN agency believes that all refugees deserve to live in safety and dignity,” McKissick said.
He commended the Nigerian government and its people for the generous support rendered to the forcibly displaced persons.
The Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Ms Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim said that Nigerian government would continue to support persons of concern in the country.
Sulaiman-Ibrahim also said that the commission had undertaken the registration of refugees into the National Health Insurance Scheme.
“I think Nigeria has done so well and we will continue to do more.
“We will continue to give them assistance, support and protection. As far as I am concerned, they are victorious because people lost their lives in the process.
“We have also embarked on a massive training of our registration protection staff to do more for refugees and persons of concern,” she said.
Mr Cho Ernest, a refugee from Cameroun, speaking on behalf of other refugees, said that they had been in Nigeria for a long time and the commission had always been nice to them.
“We have been here in Nigeria and we have been able to feel at home, we have everything but we still need things just like Nigerians equally do.
“Each time we go to the office for anything, we are treated very well even if they are not solving that problem immediately they are always nice in the way they respond to us.
“We thank the Nigerian government for accepting us especially the people we live with in the communities because Nigerians are good people,’’ Ernest said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Razak Owolabi