The federal government is set to repatriate a total of 322,000 Nigerian refugees currently living in neighbouring countries such as the Niger Republic, Cameroon and Chad.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, received a draft Tripartite Agreement for the voluntary repatriation.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by Farouq’s special assistant on media, Nneka Anibeze.
The draft was submitted to the minister by the Technical Working Group on the repatriation of Nigerian Refugees in Cameroon, NAN reports.
The draft, after its ratification, would kick-start preparations for the repatriation of refugees from the Republic of Niger and Chad.
Farouq, after receiving the draft noted that a total of 322,000 Nigerian refugees were currently living in neighbouring countries.
“Out of the figures, the Republic of Niger currently hosts 186,957 refugees; the Republic of Cameroon has 118,409 while 16,634 refugees are in the Republic of Chad.
“With a large number of refugees in Niger, Chad and Cameroon, the federal government 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,” she said.
The Federal Commissioner at the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Iman Suleiman-Ibrahim, thanked the minister for the confidence reposed in her.
Suleiman-Ibrahim 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 this exercise includes that of the Borno Government and some selected Federal Government’s MDAs as well as the UNHCR, our invaluable Technical partners.
“It goes without saying that we need to work in synergy to ensure a successful voluntary repatriation in line with the Presidential directive,” Suleiman-Ibrahim said.