BY GRACE ANYANWU, ABUJA – The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) and other stakeholders have strengthened their partnership towards the repatriation of refugees by the commission.
This is as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama said that the most important aspect of repatriation is bringing the refugees back to a safe and secured environment through military collaboration as well as putting strategies in place to make the returnees part of the solution through long term and sustainable resettlement plans.
The commitment towards the repatriation of refugees from Niger Republic, Cameroon and Chad was made stronger during a courtesy visit by the Federal Commissioner of NCFRMI, Senator Basheer Garba Mohammed to the Minister of Foreign, Geoffrey Onyeama, at the ministry on Thursday.
Speaking during the visit, Senator Mohammed said the purpose of the visit is to share with the minister the commission’s goals as it relates to repatriation of Nigerian migrants, especially those willing to return to the country as the commission intends to bring back many stranded refugees from Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
Mohammed explained that to be able to do that successfully, the commission will need to embark on a Tripartite Agreement with Niger and Chad, adding that there is already an existing agreement with Cameroon.
He further said; “The Commission has partnered with Borno State government, where majority of the refugees in Niger and Chad are from. And as the State prepares accommodation for them, we have begun designing programmes around their reintegration and rehabilitation as a first step.
“We hope to move this train together towards a successful repatriation, jointly with all stakeholders and partners. Our 2020 focus as a Commission is to deliver on the return, reintegration and rehabilitation of all persons of concern, as we have approximately 2.8 million IDPs, 68,000 refugees, over 250,000 Nigerian refugees in the three countries.
“Our flagship project in its short and long-term phases will be to resettle all IDPs, returnees and refugees in the country by 2023. We have coined this project the Resettlement City Development Project and we aim to settle 2,000 in the year 2020”, he added.
Responding, the minister said commended Senator Mohammed for hitting the ground running on such an important and challenging position that affects such a large number of the populace. He further pledged his continuous support and assistance to the commission as well as the repatriation programme.
In the commission’s delegation were Mama Edet, head of Planning, Research and Statistics; Fatima Mamman Daura, head of IDPs; Dahiru Bagiwa, head of Refugee; Joyce Opara, head of Migration; Alkassim Abdulkadir, communication and strategy advisor; Tahirah Ikharo, technical Advisor and Hussaini Suleiman, new media advisor.