The Federal Government has began moves to repatriate at least 322,000 Nigerian refugees in the Republics of Niger and Chad, Naija News has learnt.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, confirmed this development when she received the draft Tripartite Agreement for the voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refugees.
According to the Minister, the draft would kickstart preparations for the repatriation after it has been ratified by the government.
“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,” Farouq said.
While noting that at least 322,000 Nigerian refugees were currently living in neighbouring countries, the Minister said, “Out of the figures, 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,” she said.
Also speaking, the Federal Commissioner at the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Mrs Iman Suleiman-Ibrahim, maintained that synergy was necessary to ensure a successful repatriation of the refugees in line with the Presidential directive.
“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,” she said.