Aidoghie Paulinus, Addis Ababa
The Federal Government, on Sunday, said Nigeria was currently home to almost two million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
The Federal Government also said the country currently has 60, 000 Nigerian refugees in the Republic of Cameroon.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who led the Nigerian delegation to the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), made the disclosure after the launch of the AU 2019 theme: ‘The year of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons: Towards durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa.’
Onyeama said the issue of refugees and IDPs was something of great interest to Nigeria, with almost two million IDPs.
He also said the Nigerian government was very delighted that the subject matter is going to be looked at, at the continental level.
“Internally displaced, we had about two million internally displaced Nigerians. We had over 60,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon,” Onyeama said.
Onyeama added that most of the refugees probably in the world today are on the African continent, adding that the government is going to be fully engaged with the subject in terms of trying to look at the root causes and address the challenge as a country.
Onyeama further said the issue of migrants is also of great importance to Nigeria and the entire continent, noting that the issue is impacting on Africa’s s relationship with the European Union.
“So, it is something that we also have to start addressing collectively. As you know, we are looking to have an African-Europe meeting and very high on the agenda of that, is the issue of migrants and trying to find some lasting solutions on that,” Onyeama added.
On the ill-treatment of Nigerian refugees, Onyeama said Nigeria is currently having an issue with Cameroon in particular, stating that the Nigerian government engaged with the Cameroonian authorities at the highest level to address the situation.
Onyeama, however, said that Cameroon gave Nigeria all the assurances that they were taking all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of Nigerian refugees in the country.
“That is really where there has been an issue and we met at a very high level with the Cameroonian team that we visited to address that.
“And of course, the issue of refugees, Nigeria and Cameroon, is actually of both sides because now, you have significant number of Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria.
“So, it is very important that the two sides acknowledge the importance of us addressing the matters at a very high level,” Onyeama concluded.