The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, on Monday urged the National Commission for Refugees and the UN High Commission for Refugees to intensify efforts toward protecting the rights of refugees.
Musdapher said this on Monday while declaring open a workshop on “Refugee Law for Judges and Khadis” organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in Abuja.
He said, ``The misery and trauma experienced by refugees after a war or a conflict cannot be ameliorated with the provision of food and blankets alone.
``Relevant authorities must intensify efforts toward protecting and safeguarding the rights and well-being of such stateless and internally displaced persons.''
The chief justice commended the efforts of the NJI for organising the workshop, saying it was the first of its kind, aimed at providing better understanding of the plights of refugees and internally displaced persons.
``We must be concerned with the constantly increasing number of refugees and we must also be desirous of finding ways and means of alleviating their misery and sufferings, as well as providing them with a better life.''
He urged the judicial officers to listen attentively to the speakers, who have been carefully selected to deliver lectures at the workshop.
The Administrator of the institute, Retired Justice Umaru Eri, said that in recent years, the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons had been a source of concern to governments around the world.
``This is because there are millions of refugees and internally displaced persons around the world today, with the greater part of them in Africa.
``The challenge of providing food, shelter, medical care and hygiene, as well as the repatriation of this group of people is gradually becoming overwhelming.''
He added that people who fled their home countries because of ethnic, religious or political strife, were often afraid of returning home.
``And their presence in another country or region gives rise to insoluble problems.''
Eri said that the protection of their rights and freedom must be preserved.
In a related development, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekwerenmadu, represented by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr Uche Chukwu, assured the institute of Senate's continued support.
He said that the the Senate had passed a bill seeking to increase the number of high court judges so as to expedite the administration of justice.
In her closing remarks, the NJI Secretary, Mrs Phoebe Ayua, thanked the CJN, the judges, Khadis and all those who made the occasion possible.