The largest refugee population residing in Nigeria is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, Cameroon and Liberia.
The Representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Angele Dikongue-Atangana, said in Abuja on Wednesday that Nigeria received 3,154 refugees in 2012.
Ms. Dikongue-Atangana, who spoke at a press briefing as part of activities to mark this year’s “World Refugees Day’’, said Nigeria also received 1,042 asylum requests.
The theme is; “One Family torn apart by war is too many’’.
She said the largest refugee population residing in Nigeria is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, Cameroon and Liberia. She said in worldwide scale the agency estimated that more people were refugees or internally-displaced since 1994.
The agency added that 7.6 million people were newly displaced in 2012 due to conflict or persecution, including 1.1 million new refugees.
“The year 2012 was marked by refugee crises in levels unseen in the previous decades,” she said.
Ms. Dikongue-Atangana said that an average of 3,000 people per day became refugees in 2012, adding that it was five times more compared to 2010. She said the conflicts in the Congo, Mali and the Syrian Arab Republic was responsible for the displacement of 1.1 million refugees into neighbouring countries, including Nigeria.
She said female refugees accounted for 48 per cent of the worldwide refugees’ population, while 46 per cent of the refugee population consist children below 18 years.
The UNHCR representative said 35.8 million people were of concern to the UNHCR by the end of 2012.
According to her, 171 refugees, who request to return to their countries were assisted to go back home while 39 were resettled in third world countries by the UNHCR.
“So far, 928 Liberians and 722 Sierra Leonean ex-Refugees have been successfully integrated in Nigeria,” she said.
She added that the organistaion had supported the Nigerian Government in the local integration of refugees through the provision of skills training and start-up kits.
Mr. Dikongue-Atangana said the UNHCR also assisted Nigeria in printing national passport as well as residence permit for each integrating ex-refugee.
The reports that the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally-Displaced Persons and the UNHCR work together to ensure that the rights and well-being of refugees are protected in Nigeria.