From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has called for international attention in the Lake Chad region.
The UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner Operations, Raouf Mazou, made the call in Abuja while briefing journalists after his tour of the Lake Chad region.
During his high-level mission, Mazou met government officials, partners, diplomats, as well as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugee returnees in the Northeast to hear about their situation first-hand and to analyse efforts and progress made to support them in rebuilding their lives.
Mazou who arrived Nigeria last Monday, said he had visited Cameroon where there are over 100,000 Nigerian refugees.
In the Northeast, Mazou also said he visited a number of camps, including Banki where there are 40,000 IDPs and refugees who returned from Cameroon.
He stated that in Borno, he discussed with the authorities, the traumatic IDPs situation and the return of refugees from Cameroon and other countries.
Mazou disclosed that there were 170,000 Nigerian refugees in Niger, and about 16,000 Nigerian refugees in Chad.
Mazou however said the voluntary return of the refugees was depended on the conditions in Borno.
He further said the UNHCR is engaging the Federal Government and the Borno State Government regarding the situation in Borno.
“Generally speaking, I will say that we share the concern as expressed by a number of people on the situation in the Northern part of Nigeria, Borno State in particular and definitely, we need more assistance. We need the international community to give more attention to the situation in that part of the country, that part of the West African region,” Mazou said.