Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said Nigeria has 2,045,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East, 1.8 million of them in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
UNHCR Country Representative for Nigeria, Ms. Chansa Kapaya, who made the revelation at a press conference heralding the World Refugee Day in Abuja, yesterday, said escalation of conflicts in the Lake Chad region and cross-border activities of Boko Haram, over the past few years, have caused the displacement of many persons in North East and far northern region of Cameroon.
“Consequently, 292,141 Nigerian refugees have sought asylum in Niger, Cameroon and Chad,” Kapaya said.
She said other areas of concern to the agency were 57,800 Cameroonian refugees in the South East, 2,340 urban refugees and 1,122 asylum seekers in Abuja, Lagos, Ogun, and Kano states.
Kapaya said the UNHCR had stepped up prevention and response mechanisms to check the spread of COVID-19 as it had intensified efforts in the screening of refugees coming into the country and also established some isolation facilities at the border and entry points into the country in the event that there was a suspected case of COVID-19.
“We are supporting the areas where refugees have been established in the South East by supporting also the public health institutions and renovations so that they could have isolation facilities, providing medical equipment, testing kits, providing PPE, masks, hand sanitisers to partners and other community workers. So, basically, what we have done is to try to step up prevention of COVID-19.
“At the border, entry points, we are supporting the Nigerian Immigration Service by ensuring that we have people to screen anybody who is crossing, temperature testing and establishment of some isolation facilities in the event that there is a suspected case of COVID-19,” Kapaya said.
Kapaya expressed gratitude to the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in ensuring that the areas continued to be safe for people of concern.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, said the Federal Government would ensure continuous safety and well-being of refugees in the country.