The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva says that the number of Nigerian refugees in Niger Republic and Chad has risen to 170,000 and 16,000, respectively.
The Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, UNHCR, Raouf Mazou, disclosed this when she led a delegation to pay a courtesy visit to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq.
A statement on Thursday by her Special Assistant on Media, Nneka Anibeze, quoted Mazuo as saying tone of objectives of visit was to interact on some of the humanitarian challenges.
She said, “This is a difficult situation. In Borno particularly, there are close to three million Internally Displaced Persons.
“We also came to discuss with the state government of Borno on the return of some refugees.
“In the Niger Republic, there are 170,000 Nigerian Refugees and 16,000 in Chad. Some of them may want to come back to Nigeria, so how do we ensure that they can come back and what form of support systems and security needs to be in place for them to come back.
“We also want to ensure that those already in the country receive assistance and if possible, included and integrated in the support that is available for the host population,” he said.
In response, the minister assured the people of the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring that every Nigerian refugee outside the country would be returned not only in safety but also in dignity.
“The Nigeria government is poised towards ensuring the voluntary return of Nigeria refugees in neighbouring countries as a result of the activities of Boko Haram and we are committed to implementing this in line with international best practices.”