Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno State, has expressed his desire for indigenes of the state who have become refugees in other countries to return home.
According to the Governor Zulum who spoke on Thursday at a stakeholders’ implementation meeting on the Global Compact of Refugees in Abuja, more than 200,000 refugees from Borno are scattered as refugees in neighbouring countries as a result of violent attacks by Boko Haram and other insurgents.
The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Humanitarian and Disaster Management Affairs in collaboration with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
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Zulum identified Cameroon, Republic of Niger and Chad as some of the countries some of the indigenes have fled to as a result of violence in the Northern part of Nigeria.
He, however, voiced out the resolve of his administration to welcome them back and settle them in their ancestral homes.
“We need to follow up commitment with action, which is very important. One of the importance of this Global Compact of Refugees is to support citizens of countries of origin for the return of refugees back to their home country,
“I am of the view that we should first look at how we can help to support Nigerians who are taking refuge in another country, especially those who are living in the neighbouring Niger Republic as well as the Republic of Cameroon who have been agitating in the past.
“This is very important because we have over 200,000 from Borno State who are now refugees in countries like Cameroon, Republic of Niger and Chad.
“The government of Borno is willing to support and work with the humanitarian sector to ensure the return of Nigerian refugees in other countries,” Zulum submitted.
The UN Country Representative, UNHCR Nigeria, Chansa Kapaya who also spoke at the event said the United Nations is committed to the safe return of refugees to their home countries once it is safe to do so. However, in the meantime, the UN official said humanitarian aid must be made available for such persons.
On her part, Nigeria’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouq, said the federal government apart from looking at bringing back its own people, is also committed to helping refugees from other countries.
According to her, there are over 3.3 million IDPs, comprising over 2.7 million in North-East Nigeria, 513,000 in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, and 244,000 in the four other countries.
In other news, the Kaduna State government has given clarification on controversies following the death of Kano State indigenes on the Abuja-Kaduna highway.
The government noted in a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday night, December 10 through the state Commissioner, Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, that the 16 Kano indigenes died in an accident and not in the hand of kidnappers as claimed in some quarters earlier.
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