Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
No fewer than 243,875 Nigerian refugees are in neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
This came as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Country Representative, Antonio Jose Canhandula, puts the figures of internally displaced persons in Borno State that have access to assistance at 1.2 million.
The data were disclosed during the Nigeria Consultation Meeting on the Global Compact on Refugees held yesterday in Abuja.
The UNHCR Nigeria data revealed that as at October 31, 2019, a total number of 119,541 Nigerians reside in the Republic of Niger; 15,999 in Chad and 108,335 in Cameroon.
Similarly, the number of Nigerian refugees returning to the country otherwise known as refugee returnees from Niger, Chad and Cameroon have been put at 22,408.
The returnee Nigerians, according to the data, are currently settled in northeast states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
The UNHCR further disclosed that a total number of 46,098 Cameroon refugees reside in Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Taraba and Benue states. According to the UNHCR data, urban refugees in Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Ogun (Ijebu Ode) are 2,355, while asylum seekers are 1,260. A breakdown of the figures of urban refugees include Democratic Republic of Congo (635); Central African Republic (449); Cameroon (280); Syria (249); Turkey (174); Mali (144), Cote d’Ivoire (128); Chad (88); Sudan (47) and others (161).
Speaking during the meeting, Canhandula put registered refugees from Anglophone Cameroon in Cross River, Benue and Taraba at 46,000.
“The majority are in Cross River. We have around 5,600 in Taraba, 6400 in Benue State and most of the rest that is so many thousand are actually in Cross River State. When it comes to Adamawa, we are not talking of refugees, we are talking more of internally displaced populations. And Adamawa of three years ago is not Adamawa of today. Many internally displaced populations in Adamawa have returned to LGAs because those LGAs are now safe. We are talking of Mubi, Mubi South, Mubi North and even Yola and all those. The only LGAs that are not very safe for the time being are Michika and Madagali, those that are near Borno State. In Adamawa, 900,000 IDPs have returned to their areas of origin. But of course, they remain in a poor state because the infrastructure still needs to be rebuild after all these years,” Canhandula said.