From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has disclosed that no fewer than 2.9 million Nigerians have been displaced as a result of insecurity in the North East.
It revealed that already over 300,000 Nigerian refugees had sought asylum in Cameroon, Chad and Niger, decrying the activities of Boko Haram had lingered for more than ten years.
UNHCR Representative in Nigeria, Ms Chansa Kapaya, who addressed newsmen yesterday in Abuja, at the launch of IDP Zakat Fund, appealed to Nigerians to support the initiative in order to provide succour to those affected.
“The crisis of internal displacement in Nigeria has persisted for more thank 10 years. Currently, 2.9 million people in Nigeria are internally displaced.
“2.9 million is an outstanding number and is difficult for most people to see the human face behind the number and to contextualize the individual stories of hardship, suffering and loss.
“But let us remember that these are 2.9 million men, women and children who have fled their homes because I violence and conflict and gross human rights violation.
2.9 million horrific journeys exacerbated by the fear of losing one’s life, or the life of loved ones. 2.9 million is not merely a statistic but it is stark number representative of more than a decade of relentless and tragic suffering,” she said.
Kapaya added that, ” In Nigeria, UNHCR works to support the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to fulfil its international obligations to provide international protection and humanitarian assistance to refugees, the internally displaced and stateless people.
Out population of concern in Nigeria includes: 2.1 IDPs in NE Nigeria, in the states most affected by the humanitarian crisis: Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY State), 728, 688 IDPS in North West and North Central, 1.7 million refugee returnees and 69, 000 Cameroonian refugees hosted in 3 states in the Southern part of Nigeria.
“It might interest you to know that there are ala over 300, 000 Nigerian refugees who have sought asylum in the neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger also displaced by the in going violence and insecurity in the North East and North West.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Chairman of Sokoto State Zakat and Waqf Commission (SOZECOM), Lawal Maidoki, explained that the funds would be used to cater for their education, health and feeding, adding all those displaced will benefit regardless of religious inclination or culture.
He added that government and international organization would find a lasting solution to insecurity ravaging the country.