…… .Says that Nigeria does not get all the praise for its efforts
By Ifeanyi Nwoko
As the world marks World Refugee Day, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) praised Nigeria for the significant contributions it has made in housing and meeting the needs of refugees.
UNHCR Country Director in Nigeria Chansa Kapaya, who spoke at a ceremony marking World Refugee Day 2021, described Nigeria as a pioneer in helping refugees in Africa.
Kapaya, however, said the growing insecurity in Nigeria and the resulting displacement of an estimated 2.9 million people has severely tarnished the fine lines of assistance provided to refugees by Nigeria.
She said that in addition to highlighting the plight of refugees for better assistance, World Refugee Day was set aside to also recognize countries such as Nigeria that are having a great impact in this regard.
World Refugee Day is also a day to honor and pay tribute to the generosity of countries and communities around the world who provide asylum to people in need of international protection like Nigeria.
Nigeria has generously and graciously provided safe haven for those forced to flee their homes and has adopted progressive and inclusive policies and approach that allow refugees to be received, registered, documented and have access to basic services like health and education.
“I would like at this point to express my sincere gratitude to the Nigerian government for the progressive and inclusive approach to refugees, for the hospitality and solidarity.
“Nigeria has been a pioneer and a pioneer in already having an inclusive approach that allows refugees to be included in health services, children can go to Nigerian schools and participate in sports
“That said, Nigeria’s generosity to refugees is often overlooked and overshadowed due to the challenges of massive internal displacement in the country and deserves to be greatly commended for its unwavering commitment to the refugee cause,” she said. declared.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that World Refugee Day is celebrated annually to honor, celebrate and remember the millions of people forced to flee their homes.
It also serves as a day for United Nations agencies and other partners to communicate to the world the plight of refugees, their need for international protection and the importance of finding durable solutions.
The theme of the day 2021 is: “Together, we can achieve anything” – “Together, we heal, learn and shine”.
Giving statistics on the current refugee situation, the UNHCR representative said that there are around 82.4 million forcibly displaced people in the world, including 26.4 million refugees, 48 million internally displaced inside the country (IDPs) and 4.1 million asylum seekers.
She pointed out that the majority of the displaced are children under the age of 18 who represent 42 percent of the total number.
Kapaya noted that the number of people fleeing conflict and violence is still on the rise even as the world calls for a ceasefire.
Speaking further on the assistance from Nigeria, she said the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, in partnership with UNHCR, registered 66,899 refugees from Cameroon and 4,500 refugees of 33 different nationalities. residing in 25 different states.
She said UNHCR continued to support the government of Nigeria by providing a range of humanitarian aid in the refugee camps, but stressed that growing insecurity was hampering the reach of humanitarian assistance.
“Insecurity has serious consequences for humanitarian and aid workers, as it affects our ability to access those who may be in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.
“The insecurity in the north-west and center-north that emerged in 2019 also continues to record significant population displacements,” she said.
She therefore called for the continued inclusion of refugees in health systems, schools and sports in Nigeria.
One of the highlights of the event was when a Cameroonian refugee in Nigeria, Ms. Gina Nalova, addressed stakeholders and guests at the ceremony.
Ms. Nalova, who retired as Permanent Secretary in Cameroon and as a humanitarian worker and United Nations representative, was forced to flee her country and seek refuge in Nigeria.
She expressed her joy and gratitude to the government of Nigeria for all they had done for her and the others who fled with her to Nigeria.
“All I have is gratitude, gratitude to the President of Nigeria and everyone like UNHCR who made us refugees feel comfortable.
“There is no place like home, but we thank God for having countries with open arms like Nigeria.
“We are so grateful, we were revitalized after going through so much trauma before coming here,” she said.
NAN reports that the occasion also saw the signing of a memorandum granting the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) the status of #CitiesWithRefugees.
The status of Cities with Refugees symbolizes that the CTF has taken on the role of welcoming refugees. (NAA)