PROTECTION OF REFUGEES: FG’S TOP PRIORITY - DAMBAZAU
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Minister of Interior, Lt Gen. (Rtd) Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (r) and UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner (AHC) for Protection, Volker Turk
Nigeria has pledged to give the required support to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in all its activities in Nigeria, especially in ensuring the protection of refugees.
The Minister of Interior, Lt Gen. (Rtd) Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, disclosed this when he received the UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner (AHC) for Protection, Volker Turk, in his office.
He stated that Nigeria was concerned with the welfare of the refugees, recalling that Nigeria had been involved in the Regional Protection Dialogue and also in a Tripartite Agreement signed with Cameroon and UNHCR, all geared towards ensuring the protection of refugees, as well as facilitating their voluntary return in safety and dignity.
While stating that Nigeria was working to avoid any lapse in its implementation of the Tripartite Agreement, the Minister commended the UNHCR oneffectively facilitating the voluntary return of refugees, which is part of the Agreement, stressing that all parties were bound by the principles of the Agreement.
Speaking earlier, the UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner (AHC) for Protection, Volker Turk, said the mission of his team was to follow up on the implementation of the Tripartite Agreement signed by Nigeria, Cameroon and UNCHR, adding that Cameroon would be their next port of call.
He disclosed that the major thrust of the Agreement is the voluntary return of refugees to their country of origin in safety and dignity.
Also speaking, the Chairman, House Committee for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Honourable Sanni Zoro, and the Federal Commissioner for Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants, Hajiya Sadia Umar Farooq, commended the UNHCR for its support to Nigeria.
The Assistant High Commissioner was accompanied by the Deputy Director for Africa Bureau in Geneva, Mrs Millicent Mutuli; Regional Representative for West Africa in Dakar, Mrs Liz Ahua, and UNHCR Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Jose Antonio Canhandula.