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NCFRMI To Build Resettlement Cities For Nigerian Refugees 

The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) says it is building five resettlement cities for use by displaced persons.

Federal Commissioner of the Refugee Commission, Imaan Suleiman made this disclosure on Thursday, at the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team.

She listed Bono, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Nasarawa and Edo as states where the pilot phase of the scheme is being executed.

According to Suleiman, “When displacements happen; floods, communal clashes, people lose their homes and means of livelihood. So we started a piloting phase of our project resettlement in 2020. The project resettlement city will entail building small cities because Persons of Concern (POCs) have three options of doable solutions.

“They can either locally integrate, resettle or they can go back to their homes but sometimes they are unable to go back home and that is why there is a need for building new communities or strengthening the capacity of their host communities.

“We are in the third phase of our resettlement city project but the pilot phase is in Borno State, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Nasarawa and Edo State. Most of them are now at between 70-90 per cent completion but that of Edo State is about to take off. ”

She also said as part of its doable solutions, the Commission intends to address hunger as well as implement empowerment schemes among displaced persons, as they imbibe new forms of livelihood.

“When displacements happen within Nigeria we are not the first responders so we are expected to come in after they are stable to be able to provide them with doable solutions so that they can go back to normalcy.

“So the recent adoption of the National IDP Policy in 2021 by the Federal Executive Council is epic because that gives us the legal framework and highlights everybody’s role including the IDPs and the host communities. We have been able to continue to strengthen the psycho-social support system for the Commission because people are displaced, they go through all kinds of trauma so, psycho-social support is key.

“We have begun the piloting phase for the transitional learning centres in some locations, Edo, Zamfara, Imo, Bauchi, Federal Capital Territory and Katsina. We’ve been able to give persons of concern access to COVID-19 vaccines and also conduct medical outreaches in collaboration with the National Primary Health care Development Agency.

“With the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), we have been able to train 10, 000 POCs in all areas of ICT skills. This is in line with their vision to achieve 90 per cent of literacy for the citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We have also introduced the project Zero-Hunger, which was conceived to address the growing challenge of food insecurity because when you are hungry, you become vulnerable and easily accessible to criminal minds. We also ensure that we give them targeted empowerment and capacity-building training to make them more self-sufficient and give them a new lease of life”, she added.

Suleiman used the occasion to recount three major challenges faced by the Commission, which include security, a rising number of refugees and funding.

“The major challenge is security. In managing humanitarian crises there are areas that we are supposed to reach and we are unable to do so that is a major problem because even when they are undergoing the crisis, sometimes the places are not secured but they still require support.

“The second challenge is the rising numbers. You will agree with me that we have had an unprecedented humanitarian crisis globally. These things just keep happening and we have to manage the issue regardless. So, I think the rising numbers are also a challenge and we have to find a way of shrinking the numbers as quickly as possible.

“Then thirdly is  is funding; there is hardly any funds for anything and they are required to be able to intervene quickly for these people”, she said.

She also said statistics have revealed that there are over 3.2 million refugees in Nigeria, but so far, the Commission has been able to register 84, 803 refugees in the country, adding that the country has been to return voluntarily, 17, 334 Nigerians back home.

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