The federal government on Friday received the draft tripartite agreement for the voluntary repatriation of 322,000 Nigerian refugees currently living in Cameroon, Chad and the Niger Republic.
The report was presented to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, by the Technical Working Group on the repatriation of Nigerian Refugees in Cameroon.
The draft, after its ratification, will kick-start preparations for the repatriation of refugees from the Republic of Niger and Chad.
Receiving the draft report, Sadiya Farouq who disclosed that a total of 322,000 Nigerian refugees were currently living in neighbouring countries,
“Out of the figures, Niger currently hosts 186,957 refugees, the Republic of Cameroon has 118,409 refugees while 16,634 refugees are in the Republic of Chad.
“With a large number of refugees in Niger, Chad and Cameroon, the Federal Government of Nigeria has officially initiated talks with the Governments of Chad and Niger to sign tripartite agreements similar to the one we have with the Republic of Cameroon.
“I am happy to inform you that we already have a draft copy of the Tripartite Agreement for Voluntary Repatriation of Nigerian Refugees in Niger and Chad Republics.”
The Minister who was hitherto the Chairperson of the Technical Working Group officially handed over the position to the new Federal Commissioner, Iman Suleiman-Ibrahim.
In her address, Mrs Ibrahim thanked the minister for the confidence reposed in her and sought the cooperation of all partners in efforts to bring back the refugees in safety and dignity.
“Part of the governance infrastructure for carrying out these exercises include the Borno State Government and some selected Federal Government MDAs as well as the UNHCR, our invaluable Technical Partner, all of whom have crucial roles to play.
“It goes without saying that we need to work in synergy to ensure a successful voluntary repatriation in line with the Presidential directive.”
The Federal Commissioner also urged members of the Technical Working Group to contribute meaningfully to discussions on updates to carry out their assignment.
The TWG was saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the safe return of Nigerian Refugees and comprises of representatives of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, (NCFRMI) the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, North East Development Commission, (UNHCR) Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Department of Security Services, National Security Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Nigerian Police Force, Ministry of Health and the Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
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