The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has reiterated its commitment to support the federal government in achieving its obligation and commitment to the Abidjan Declaration and the Banjul Plan of Action to eradicate statelessness.
The UNHCR representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Antonio Jose Canhandula, who made this known yesterday in Abuja during the IBelong campaign to end statelessness by 2024, said the UN will work with Nigeria especially with regards to the commitment to conduct a study on statelessness, which will give a clear picture of number of stateless persons or people at risk in Nigeria.
Canhandula said the UNHCR is ready to support the government’s use of national census to have a more all-inclusive national record of the risk of statelessness or possible existing statelessness situation in Nigeria.
He noted that a group of experts from government agencies, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organisations, Civil Society Organisations and the academia, recently met to discuss the issues patterning to statelessness in Nigeria, highlighting the gaps in law and policy in the country, and proffered solutions in the draft National Action Plan (NAP).
“It is my sincere hope that the NAP will be adopted by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in the shortest possible time if Nigeria is to meet the global target of eradicating statelessness by 2024.
“Stateless people are often denied the rights and services that countries normally offer their citizens. It can mean a life without education, without medical care or legal employment, a life without the ability to move freely, without prospects or hope,” he said.
He added that the goal of eradicating statelessness is looking increasingly possible, adding that the ECOWAS region and Nigeria have worked towards achieving the goals set out in the campaign.
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