Nigeria is urging for sustainable action to promote integration and inclusion. It is crucial that we work towards creating a welcoming environment for refugees, where they can feel valued and supported and rebuild their lives.
This requires a collaborative effort from all stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, and the private sector. By fostering integration and inclusion, we can help refugees rebuild their lives and contribute to the development of their new communities. Let us take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to supporting refugees and creating a better future for all.
The Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Imaan Suleiman-Ibrahim said there is need to open doors and tear down barriers that hinder their integration and inclusion.
According to her, refugees are not defined by their displacement, but by their remarkable resilience, courage and unyielding humanity.
“They are individuals who have endured unimaginable hardships and persecution, yet refuse to be defined by their circumstances. They are mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers including children who strive to rebuild their lives, contribute to their new communities and create a better future for their children.
“At this moment, we are called to action. It is our collective responsibility to create opportunities that unlock the full potential of refugees and empower them to rebuild their lives. We must open doors and tear down the barriers that hinder their admission, integration and inclusion. Together, we can transform the refugee experience into a journey of hope and resilience,” she added.
She explained that refugees become agents of change when their skills are recognized and their voices are heard.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo said the theme for this year’s World Refugee Day, ‘Hope away from home’ was apt and germane, especially as the preparation for the Global Refugee Forum holding from 13th-15th December, 2023 in Geneva, draws closer .
Represented by the Director, Humanitarian affairs in the Ministry, Ali Grema, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo said the forum provides an opportunity to build on the implementation of pledges and initiatives announced since 2019.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Country Representative in Nigeria, Chansa Kapaya said, including refugees in the communities where they have found safety is the most effective way to enable them to rebuild their lives and contribute to local economies and the countries hosting them.
She said it is also the best way to prepare them to return home and rebuild their countries when conditions allow them to return safely and voluntarily.
Inclusion also means forging friendships and showing solidarity with newcomers in our communities. We all benefit from human connections and a sense of belonging. For refugees far from home, feeling welcome sows hope, we give refugees hope when we empower them to take greater command of their daily lives”.
“Simply put: no matter how long they remain in exile, refugees want to carry on with their lives,” Kapaya said.
Kapaya disclosed that Nigeria continues to keep its doors and hearts open to people forced to flee their homes, currently hosting 95,700 refugees and asylum seekers.
The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Matthias Schmale said Refugees need and deserve support and solidarity not closed borders and push back.
Nigeria hosts almost 100,000 refugees and asylum seekers from about 34 countries, out of which over 94,000 are Cameroonians.