The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Assistant Representative for Operations in Nigeria, Mr Boubacar Bamba on Tuesday said that about 14 million people currently needed humanitarian assistance.
Bamba made the announcement in Lagos at an event jointly organised by UNHCR, the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons and other organisations to mark this Year’s World Refugees Day.
“The internal displacement in Nigeria caused by a six-year-old insurgency has resulted in about 1.8million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and impact on 26 million people living in the Northeast part of the country.
“The number of people currently in need of humanitarian assistance is estimated at 14 million, with Borno, Adamawa and Yobe as the most affected States.
“The situation is being worsened by an unprecedented influx of returning refugees from neighbouring countries, especially Cameroon,’’ he said.
The Head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Lagos Liaison Office, Dr Omolaso Omosehin, also said that the humanitarian situation had to expose IDPs to protection risk, with limited access to reproductive health and gender-based violence(GBV).
According to him, UNFPA estimates that 1,725,000 women of reproductive age, including 276,000 expected pregnancies, currently require essential life-saving reproductive health services.
“We all know that in humanitarian situations, women and children are the most affected.
“Thrown out of the secure environments of their homes and communities, they are open to hunger, physical and sexual abuse, and undignifying conditions,’’ he said.
The Leader of IDPs in South-West Nigeria, Mr Babagana Buba, said that there were currently about 20,000 IDPs in the South-West, while 15,000 of them were scattered across different communities in Lagos State. Baba, who spoke on behalf of the IDPs in the zone, appealed to governments and well-meaning Nigerians to urgently come to their aid.
“We urgently need governments and other people’s assistance to be able to secure accommodation, feed ourselves and our families. “Some of us are even willing to return to our communities in the North East, to start our lives all over again,’’ he added.
The World Refugee Day is celebrated every year on the 20th of June to support millions of families all over the world who have lost their homes and dear ones because of violence or war.
The day was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations for the refugees to honour them for their courage of facing lots of problems after losing homes due to conflict or violence and their contributions to their communities.
The celebration provides an opportunity to all to help the refugees worldwide to rebuild their quality lives through lots of related activities.
The theme for the 2017 celebration is: “We Stand Together With”