Statement by Nigeria at the Global Refuge Forum, 16-18 December, 2019 in Genva

The Chairperson Excellencies, 
Presidents of Member States here present
Honorable Ministers Distinguished Delegates, 
Ladies and Gentlemen 

It is my pleasure to present this statement on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at this very important and historic event, where we have come together to build on the outcome of our collective efforts as global stakeholders in the humanitarian and development community. This forum provides a unique opportunity for us all to demonstrate our commitments as member nations to the implementation of one of the very important instruments developed in global humanitarian and development community; the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). 

2.       There is no doubt that Nigeria has been affected by global refugee crises as a country of origin, transit and destination as well as internal displacements due to conflicts, terrorist attacks and the climatic threats in the Lake Chad region.  I wish to commend the efforts of the UNHCR and the High Commissioner for Refugees Mr. Filippo Grandhi, for their collaboration with the government of Nigeria in addressing the challenges of forced displacement.  Our appreciation also goes to all our partners for their continued support.  

3.       Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, we recognize that it is the primary responsibility of states to cater for their citizens in any situation they may find themselves.  In this regard, the role of the local authorities in taking the lead towards addressing humanitarian, development and security challenges can never be overemphasized.    Nigeria is currently taking its leadership role in addressing these challenges through some home-grown initiatives that would not only strategically address the root causes of displacements but also tactically provide succor to displaced persons in short and medium term.   The Presidential Initiative, popularly known as the Buhari Plan is concentrating on the humanitarian-development-peace-nexus, through the principles of reconstruction, rehabilitation, resettlement, reintegration and reconciliation.  In addition, Nigeria is putting up elaborate measures to ensure that the fundamental basic human rights of refugees, and their dignity are protected while safeguarding them from all forms of violence and discrimination, including gender-based violence. 

4.       Mr. Chairman, the Global Compact on Refugees recognizes the fact that no one country can manage the issues of refugees on their own and calls for strengthened solidarity with refugee hosting countries through equitable burden and responsibility sharing.  To be able to achieve this mandate, there is need for political will and strong commitments by member states but also collaboration and complementarity between regions and relevant organizations.  Nigeria has been in partnership with the UNHCR and other countries in the Lake Chad region.  Under this partnership, we have been able to host two regional protection dialogues which led to the Abuja Action Statements in 2016 and the reaffirmation of its commitments in January, this year.   I wish to reiterate Nigeria’s readiness to continue to partner with all relevant stakeholders including states, the UNHCR and other international organizations at national, regional and global levels.  Moreover, the recent establishment of the new Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD) is a demonstration of the zeal to improve coordination, mobilize resources, monitor input and impacts of assistance and evaluate the collective efforts in responding to refugee concerns in Nigeria. 

5.       Mr. Chair, Nigeria is currently host to about fifty thousand (50,000) refugees and over two million (2,000,000) internally displaced persons (IDPs). To key into the provisions of the GCR and sustain momentum at the implementation level, the UNHCR and National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria collaboratively organized series of consultative meetings in different parts of the country currently hosting different populations of concern.   The aim of the consultations was to develop pledges at the local and state levels that would feed into the development of national Pledges for the Global Refugee Forum.  

6.       Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Nigeria is committed to facilitating the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees based on the following four National pledges: 

i.      Inclusion; 
ii.     Protection; 
iii.    Availability and access; and 
iv.    Teamwork across regional and sub-regional efforts.

7.  It is apparent that Nigeria’s efforts to honor GCR commitments has gone beyond these pledges considering the processes put in place to receive and integrate most of the Cameroonians currently taking refuge in different parts of country.  Nigeria has included refugees in national services such as education and health, totally avoiding the creation of a parallel unsustainable services and structures. In addition, to ensure that refugees are productive and self-reliant, Benue and Cross River States have made available, 100 hectares of their farming lands to refugees.  These efforts have no doubt, contributed to a harmonious co-existence between refugees and local communities. 

8.       In a similar vein, Nigeria with the support of the UNHCR has been able to equip urban refugees in different parts of the country with skills, start-up capital and starter packs to engage in income generating activities that would assist them to fully integrate into Nigerian communities. The NCFRMI and UNHCR together with the Nigerian Immigration Service worked tirelessly to issue a conventional Travel Documents to enable refugees and asylum seekers, exercise their fundamental human rights of free movement in addition to all internationally recognized protection and privileges provided.  

9.    In conclusion Mr. Chairman, I wish to reiterate that Nigeria ratified and consistently remains committed to the implementation of the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees and its Protocol, as well as other relevant instruments. On this note, the Global Compact on Refugees is expected to assist Nigeria to amplify its efforts and have a gainful traction in this global partnership.   

10.     I thank you.