Minister Hands Over TWG Tripartite Agreement Lead to NCFRMI Boss

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Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, Minister, TWG, Tripartite Agreement, NCFRMI Boss
The federal commissioner, NCFRMI, Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim

Minister Hands Over TWG Tripartite Agreement Lead to NCFRMI Boss

The minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management, and social development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, has handed over the chairing of the TWG Tripartite Agreement to the federal commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Hajiya Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim.

A spokesman for the commission, Sadiq Abdullateef, said in statement that the hand-over was done on Saturday during the Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting on the voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refugees living in Cameroon, Niger and Chad Republic held at the Army Resource Centre, Abuja.

According to the minister, the current number of Nigerian refugees living in neighbouring countries is Three Hundred and Twenty-Two Thousand (322, 000).

Republic of Niger has One Hundred and Eighty-Six Thousand, Nine Hundred and Fifty-Seven (186,957) refugees, Republic of Cameroon has One Hundred and Eighteen Thousand, Four Hundred and Nine Thousand (118,409) refugees and the Republic of Chad has Sixteen Thousand, Six Hundred and Thirty-Four Thousand (16,634) refugees.

“On the 22nd of August 2019, the first batch of returnees was airlifted by the Nigerian Airforce from Maroua Airport in Cameroon to Yola, Adamawa State where they were kept at a transit centre in Yola before being transported to their respective final destinations in the State. A total number of One Hundred and Thirty-Four (134) refugees were returned during the first phase of the repatriation exercise”, the minister added.

“Subsequently, with the signaling of the Borno State Government about their willingness to receive refugees under the auspices of the Tripartite Agreement, the TWG embarked on an assessment tour of potential resettlement areas and facilities in Banki and Bama Towns of Borno State in late February 2021”.

“On the 8th of March 2021, the Borno State Government began an independent repatriation of its indigenes from Cameroon which saw approximately Five Thousand (5000) refugees resettled in Bama, Banki and Gwoza. These figures do not capture spontaneous returns and resettlements which have been ongoing for years”, she stressed.

She further said with the large numbers of refugees in Niger, Chad and Cameroon, the Federal Government of Nigeria has officially initiated talks with the Governments of Chad and Niger to sign tripartite agreements similar to the one we have with the Republic of Cameroon.

“Although the ongoing repatriation exercise has experienced growing pains and has been stalled due to reasons beyond my control, we should all be optimistic about the future of the leadership of the TWG and the determination I know we will all exert during the next phases of the repatriations”.

“On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Nigerian refugees and asylum seekers in neighboring countries, I would like to thank you all for all your hard work in the assistance for the most vulnerable. With this, I officially handover the Chairpersonship of the TWG to the new Honourable Federal Commissioner Iman Suleiman-Ibrahim”, Sadiya concluded.

Also speaking, the Honourable Federal Commissioner said, the TWG is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the safe return of Nigerian Refugees and the NCFRMI is the driving force behind the exercise under the formidable direction and support of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.

“Part of the governance infrastructure for carrying out this exercises include the Borno State Government and some selected Federal Government MDAs as well as the UNHCR, all of who have crucial roles to play and it goes without saying that we need to work in synergy to ensure a successful voluntary repatriation in line with the Presidential directive”, she explained.

“It is to our common knowledge that the TWG and the TC Meetings were held in Maroua, Cameroon Republic. The objective of the meetings cannot be divorced from having a successful repatriation, following the Tripartite Agreement signed between Nigeria, Cameroon and the UNHCR”.

“Let me take this opportunity to thank members of the TWG from Nigeria for a job well done. I urge you all to contribute meaningfully to the discussions that will arise from considering the updates so that a future pathway of actions could be done”, Imaan concluded.

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