Nigeria: UNHCR - 2.9 Million Persons Displaced By Violence in Northern Nigeria

11 May 2021

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Nigeria has disclosed that 2.9 million Nigerians are currently being displaced by violent crises in northern part of the country.

Assistant Private Sector Partnership Officer, UNHCR, Mr. Lanre Odunlami, who spoke on Arise News Channel, a THISDAY sister broadcast station, noted that the huge number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were still facing several threats, including the incessant movement from one location to another.

He stated that the organisation has faced multiple crises in several countries which have displaced people, noting that the UNHCR has been striving to provide basic amenities like healthcare, support provision of education and non-food items.

With presence in over 135 countries, Odunlami stated that 90 per cent of the UN body's workforce is in conflict areas to ensure that refugees have dignified lives.

He stated that in Nigeria, the UNHCR has 16 offices and most of them are in the conflict areas in Borno state, Bama, Ngala, Maiduguri, Monguno, Damasak, Yobe, where the organisation is providing the necessary assistance to refugees, IDPs, asylum seekers and stateless people.

Odunlami stated that as at today, there are close to 80 million refugees globally, adding that of this number, almost 26 million people are refugees who are actually displaced.

"Half of these 26 million people are under 18 years, meaning that half of displaced population are children. In Africa, there are over 33 million Africans who are actually displaced.

"Coming back to Nigeria, the crisis which started about 2009, now in its 12th year, has led to loss of livelihoods, wreaked havoc on people's lives and since these displacements, government is continuing its efforts, humanitarian organisations are also making sure these efforts lead to the needed assistance.

"Currently there are 2.9 million people that are displaced in Nigeria. These are just the figures from the northeast, northwest and north central. So putting the whole region together about 2.9 people are currently displaced," he stated.

In his comments, Regional Representative, UNHCR, Mr. Khaled Khalifa, who spoke on the humanitarian relief organisation's Zakat Fund, noted that more than 50 per cent of displaced persons come from Muslim countries and communities.

He stated that UNHCR was bridging the gap between the rich and those who do not have, explaining that that informed the floating of the zakat programme which has been expanded to benefit 2.1 million persons in the last few years.

UNHCR's zakat fund, he said, was set up to provide emergency relief items and does not charge any administrative fees on collection and implementation of Zakat activities as 100 per cent of contribution goes to those in need.

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