UNHCR: 2.9m IDPs, 70,000 refugees live in Nigeria

About 70,000 refugees and 2.9 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and presently live in Nigeria, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said.

The figures were disclosed when the Senior External Relations Officer, Roland Schoenbauer, and the agency’s Communications Officer, Gabriel Adeyemo, paid a visit to The Nation headquarters in Lagos on Wednesday.

They commended Nigeria for its generosity towards refugees, noting that the country treats them as its citizens.

Schoenbauer said registered refugees in Nigeria had the liberty to move about, work, educate their children and seek healthcare than those in many parts of Europe.

“I’ve been around and I think I can compare different countries. It was not difficult to get land for those settlements from the authorities. UNHCR doesn’t have land anywhere in the world, we depend on the countries that receive refugees and so we collaborate.

“But the generosity didn’t end there. It’s commendable that in Nigeria, refugee children can go to normal schools. They are not kept away from school like in other countries; they’re not put in ghetto schools, where people say ‘you won’t be able to learn with our children’. No.

“The same for the primary healthcare centres; refugees can go there. If they have appendicitis, they go there like a Nigerian would go there and yes, UNHCR supports the authorities in both areas. We have built schools and expanded the health facilities for COVID-19.”

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