By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The federal government has signed a tripartite agreement with the United Nations High Commission for Refuge (UNHCR) and the Republic of Cameroun for the return of about 80,000 Nigerian refugees who had fled for safety and are currently taking refuge in the in the country.
The Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Muhammad Sani Sidi, disclosed this when an African Union Humanitarian Mission led by Dr. Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, Commissioner Political Affairs, visited the Headquarters of the agency at the weekend.
Sidi said government was making efforts to cater for all their basic needs.
He said the federal government and governments of the states affected by the insurgency, United Nations Organisation (UNO), international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) and the private sector had done a lot in the past four years to manage large number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the North-east, adding that “we have moved from the emergency response stage to recovery and resettlement of the IDPs.”
He urged the visiting Abdullahi to use her good offices as Commissioner Political Affairs of the African Union to seek for more assistance and support for the affected persons and the states. He thanked all the development partners, UN agencies, civil docieties for working tirelessly in supporting the IDPs and Government of Nigeria.
Earlier, the commissioner said they were in Nigeria to assess the situation of IDPs and to discuss areas of possible support. She added that displaced Nigerians were of concern to the AU, as records available to AU indicate that there were about 13 million displaced persons and 3 million refugees on the continent.
She commended the efforts of the Nigerian government and the military for degrading and minimising the activities of the insurgents in the North-east.
She said with the large number of displaced persons living in the camps, the AU would continue to give more attention to the issues of displacement through interaction and focus on addressing the root causes of conflict in Africa.