By Blessing Bature-Akpakpan,
The Federal Commissioner National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Senator Basheer Garba Mohammed, has said that the commission will continue to do its best to ensure that issues affecting refugees in Nigeria are addressed.
He made this known in Abuja during a two-day stakeholders meeting on implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) that the Commission has been partnering with relevant stakeholders in providing medical, financial and morale support for refugees in Nigeria.
Represented by Director Refugees and Migration, Mr Tai Hassan Ejibunu, Mohammed said Nigeria came up with four pledges at the Geneva’s meeting on the GRF with emphasis on the core areas of interest for durable solutions for refugees, IDPs, returnees and host communities. These pledges centred on inclusion of Persons of Concerns (PoCs) in the national development plan, strengthening protection capacity ensuring availability and access to durable solutions and ensuring active participation at regional and sub-regional efforts to address root causes displacement.
Mohammed said, ” that in preparation for the Global Refugees Forum (GRF), Nigeria organized series of consultative meetings with stakeholders comprising of state and non-state actors where issues peculiar to the management of refugees were discussed and pledges made towards the GCR. A two-day workshop was organized in November 2019, which served as a forum to aggregate the views expressed at the zonal workshops, with stakeholders coming up with a harmonized document of Nigeria’s pledge for her participation at the annual Global Refugee Forum (GRF) meeting which held in December 2019 at Geneva, Switzerland.
“One of the lofty programmes embarked upon by the Commission was the commencement in 2019, of the enrolment of refugees on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). The Commission is also in talks with the management of NHIS to begin the process of enrolling IDPs into the Scheme. However, in the interim the Commission provides medical support for IDPs through collaboration with the National Hospital in Abuja. These measures will be replicated nationwide.
“Also, in a bid to foster self reliance and sustainable livelihood among PoCs, the Commission has begun series of projects geared towards ensuring economic empowerment of PoCs in Nigeria. The project titled Project Reliance in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will empower one million PoCs in Nigeria. The project will run nationwide and the first phase of verification of beneficiaries has been concluded in Borno State.”
He added: “The proposed Project Resettlement Cities is another durable solution project of the Commission aimed at resettling over 5,000 IDPs in Nigeria in its first phase. The pilot phase will begin in Borno, Katsina, Zamfara and Edo States respectively. So far, the Commission has offered durable solution to 785 IDPs.
Also speaking, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq said the ministry will continue partnering with relevant stakeholders to achieve the federal government’s objectives for refugees.
She said: “As you are aware, the world is facing serious humanitarian challenges. Available statistics from UNHCR as at 2019 shows that there are 79.5 million Forcibly Displaced Persons (FDPs), including 25.9 million refugees and 41.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the world as at the end of 2018. In the Lake Chad Basin region, there were over 3.3 million FDPs, comprising over 2.7 million IDPs in North-East Nigeria, 513,000 IDPs in Cameroon, Chad and Niger and 244,000 refugees in the four countries. Nigeria had the highest number and carries the heaviest burden of the humanitarian challenge.
“The Nigerian Government has been providing support to refugees in Nigeria through the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs (NCFRMI). We have over the years increased our assistance and support in response to recent influx of Cameroonian refugees. In line with the spirit of the bipartite subproject with UNHCR, we equipped urban refugees in different parts of the country with skills, start-up capital and starter packs to engage in income generating activities that assisted to integrate locally in Nigerian communities. We worked with UNHCR and the Nigeria Immigration Service to issue a Convention Travel Document to enable refugees and asylum seekers to exercise the fundamental human rights of movement with all internationally recognized protection and privileges.