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Factual Reportage

By Emma Okereh

As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to celebrate the 2024 world refugees day, Thursday, the executive secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Dr Tony Ojukwu, has reaffirmed the Commission’s steadfastness in advocating for the rights of refugees and called on government and stakeholders to do more in the protection of refugees and ensure that they are safely returned to their communities as enshrined in the Refugee Convention and Human Rights Treaties.

He also called on the government and other duty bearers to redouble their efforts in protecting and supporting refugees, migrants, Asylum seekers, stateless persons and internally displaced persons in order for them to rebuild their lives in dignity.

The Executive Secretary stated this in Abuja on the eve of the commemoration of 2024 World Refugees Day, which is marked every 20th of June.

In a statement released in Abuja, he noted that refugees and other persons living in similar conditions deserve to be protected bearing in mind that they are usually not the architects of their plights but victims of circumstances like insurgency, natural disasters, harsh economic conditions and human rights violations.

Ojukwu observed that the 2024 theme of the celebration, “Solidarity with Refugees”, is a reminder to the fact that refugees, internally displaced persons and asylum seekers need adequate protection and support to survive in the environment which often exposes them to different forms of human rights violations.

According to the Executive Secretary, it is imperative to celebrate the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their homes or country against their wish due to conflicts or persecution, adding that it is necessary to map out solutions to resettle and help them to have a better livelihood.

He further stated that Nigeria has its fair share of this population of concern arising from communal clashes, banditry, farmers and herders’ clashes, Boko Haram etc. These have affected their rights to health care, education, employment, dignity of the human person, right to housing, land and property etc.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), World Refugee Day is a time to shine a light on the rights, dreams of refugees, helping to mobilize the political will and resources to enable the refugees to enjoy a new lease of life.
As at May 2024, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) gave Nigerian statistics figures of refugees as 71,728, with refugee returnees at 27,725 which indicates that the Nigerian government needs to focus their attention on the plight of refugees to bring the numbers of refugees to the barest minimum.

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