The Federal Commissioner of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Sadiya Umar Farouq has said over 21,000 Cameroonian refugees fleeing crisis in the country are currently in Nigeria.
She disclosed this while addressing a joint Press Conference with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) in Abuja on Tuesday as part of activities to mark this year’s World Refugees Day.
“The 2018 Refugees Day is commemorated as wars and civil strife multiply and many families are forced to flee their homes,” she said. “In Nigeria, the year has been characterised by an influx of Cameroonian refugees fleeing clashes between the Cameroonian government and separatist forces.
“With a staggering figure of over 21,000 registered so far, the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, the UNHCR and other partners are still registering more arrivals.”
The NCFRMI Federal Commissioner also disclosed that no fewer than 1.7 million Nigerians were still internally displaced by the insurgency in the Northeast while 200,000 others were living as refugees in neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
She lamented that the refugees had outweighed the available resources thus far, calling for the government to design a different approach in tackling the challenges emanating from the refugees in Nigeria.
Halima Ahmed, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Finance said the body have been working on preventing unrest that will lead to citizens fleeing their country.
She said: “We have our early warning mechanism with centres in all our member states.”
While adding that elections remain a major cause of crisis in the subregion, she added that “election in Nigeria takes place next year but ECOWAS is already working to ensure peace.”
On his part, the UNHCR representative to ECOWAS and Nigeria Antonio Jose Canhandula said the UNHCR will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees and displaced persons in Nigeria.
He however, called on the Nigerian and Cameroonian authorities to find solutions to problems leading to people leaving their communities.
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