From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
No fewer than 312,069 Nigerian refugees are currently in Niger, Chad and Cameroon while the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country has hit 2.9million.
This was contained in a recent data by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Nigeria which put the worldwide population of refugees at 2, 880,168. The UNHCR record of IDPs who are mainly in the North East, North Central, and North West, however did not reckon with those in Edo and other states of the federation.
The updated data of May 31, 2021 from UNHCR Nigeria, showed an increase of 11,185 Nigerian refugees outside the country when compared to UNHCR figures updated on November 30, 2020.
The breakdown showed that there are 177, 773 Nigerian refugees in Niger; 16,294 in Chad and 118,002 in Cameroon.
Also, as at April 30 and May 31, 2021, Nigeria recorded 71,365 registered refugees in the country from across the world. The refugees, according to Daily Sun’s findings, are residing in Lagos, Kano, Cross River, Taraba, Benue, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna, Ogun, Oyo and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The number of refugees and countries of origin are Cameroon, 67,456; Central African Republic,717; Democratic Republic of Congo,654; Syrian Arab Republic,341; Mali,143; Cote d’Ivoire,136; Chad, 87; Sudan, 47 and Unspecified,1, 784. Also, asylum seekers in the country, who are awaiting the determination of government to either grant them status or be denied are 1,634.
Speaking at an event to commemorate the World Refugee Day in Abuja, UNHCR Country Representative, Chansa Kapaya, said data from the UNHCR Global Trends Report estimated that 82.4 million were forcibly displaced by violence and persecution globally out of which 26.4 million are refugees, 48 million are IDPs and 4.1 million are asylum seekers.
Kapaya added that the majority were children who account for 30 per cent of the world’s population with girls and boys under the age of 18 accounting for 42 per cent of all forcibly displaced people.
“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic which broke out last year, the number of people fleeing wars, violence, persecution and human rights violations in 2020, continued to soar and calls for global ceasefire, as conflicts and persecution continued, forcing people to flee across borders and millions more to be displaced within their own countries,” Kapaya said.
While disclosing recent data on Nigeria, Kapaya said the number of refugees significantly increased at the beginning of 2017 with Cameroonian refugees predominately from the North West and South West of Cameroon affected by the conflict between government and activists calling for the independence of the Anglophone region fleeing into the South-South, South-East States of Cross River, Taraba, Benue and Akwa Ibom.
“At the end of May 2021, NCFRMI with the support of UNHCR, registered 66,899 refugees from Cameroon and 4,500 refugees from 33 different nationalities residing in 25 different states in urban areas bringing the total number of refugees to 72.999. To support the government of Nigeria, UNHCR has provided a range of humanitarian assistance within the refugee settlements and host communities living around the four settlements. Nigeria also hosts 2.9 million Internally Displaced Persons of concern to UNHCR.”
Kapaya said the IDP situation, has in the past decade been increasing due to the escalation of conflict in the Lake Chad Basin region with cross-border activities of non-state armed groups causing the internal displacement of millions in the North East of Nigeria (about 2.2 million), as well as causing some 300,000 other Nigerian nationals to seek refuge in neighbouring countries.
“The insecurity has serious implications for humanitarian and aid workers, as it impacts our ability to access those who might be in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. Insecurity in the Northwest and North Central that emerged in 2019 continues to also register significant population displacement,” Kapaya said.