Liberian refugees in Nigeria return home- UN

Jumoke Akinjide, The Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory (FCT)

Nigeria now has 50 per cent less refugees than four months ago.

Thousands of Liberians who were in Nigeria as refugees have returned to their country, the United Nations has said.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, Angele Dikongue-Atangana, said this during a meeting with the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Olajumoke Akinjide.

She said Nigeria currently has over 5 thousand refugees within her territory, 50 per cent lower than about 10 thousand recorded as at June 30.

“We have about 10 thousand refugees from Chad, Liberia and other African countries in Nigeria as at June 30, 2012.

The number of refugees currently in Nigeria is about 5,000. About 5,000 others, mostly Liberians, have returned to their countries,” she said.

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Ms. Dikongue-Atangana said the United Nations will be working with the Federal and State Governments, as well as Abuja, and the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, in providing for the refugees, internally-displaced persons, and emergency management.

“The United Nations will be sending a mission to Nigeria to assist the country in catering for the displaced persons,” the commissioner said.

She noted that the UNHCR would collaborate with the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, towards building capacity in the area of emergency management and provision of relief support for internally-displaced persons.

“As you are aware, the headquarters of ECOWAS is in Nigeria. We shall be collaborating with ECOWAS to build capacity in the area of emergency response and also policy making with regard to internally displaced persons.

“One good example of this collaboration is the Kampala Convention, which was adopted in 2009. Nigeria ratified the Convention in May this year. So, we will be working to domesticate and implement the Convention closely with ECOWAS,” the UNHCR said.

The Abuja minister underscored the importance of the UNHCR’s work and assured that the FCT Administration would partner with the agency in setting up an emergency management agency for the territory.

“The FCT Administration is on the verge of setting up an Emergency Management Agency for the territory. We already have some secretariats, departments and agencies rendering emergency services but we want to bring them under one agency to be known as FCT Emergency Management Agency.

“We would like to build capacity in emergency management so that we can respond quickly and adequately to unforeseen disasters. We are therefore willing to partner with UNHCR in that respect,” the minister stated.

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