Refugees and asylum seekers in Nigeria
In 2017 Nigeria witnessed a major influx of refugees from Cameroon into its South-South and Middle Belt regions triggering the declaration of an L2 emergency. This new caseload is in addition to the already existing caseload of about 2,500 urban refugees and asylum-seekers, mostly based in Lagos. Additionally, it is expected that Nigeria will continue to receive refugees, and, with there being no political solution in sight in Cameroon, it is expected that the bulk of these will be Cameroonians. The priorities UNHCR has chosen for 2019 will attempt to respond to the needs of both of these different groups. The newer situation being more rural in nature (but by no means exclusively so) and the older situation being more urban and of a protracted nature, the needs and degrees of vulnerability are not always the same. UNHCR Nigeria will prioritize efforts to sustain positive gains of protection environment through results oriented engagement with authorities and other stakeholders that will ensure:
- Persons of concern can safely access asylum with minimal risk of refoulement, and their applications are fairly and expeditiously determined in accordance with relevant international standards.
- Registration of newly arriving Cameroonian refuges and provision of documentation to enhance legal protection.
- Protection and border monitoring is established/strengthened within host communities with referrals/response mechanisms for SGBV cases, UASC, other groups with specific needs
- Detention visits/monitoring to mitigate risks of refoulement and respect for human right
- Capacity building/trainings for authorities NIS, NCFRMI, State Emergency Management Agency and other relevant national personnel should continue to ensure that asylum-seekers’ rights are fully respected.
- Provision of food and core relief items to new arrivals and in locations where food security situation is dire.
- Provision of assistance for transitional/long term shelter needs with WASH facilities that meet minimum standards
- Provision of medical assistance either directly in host communities or assist the already overburdened healthcare facilities in and around the receiving communities.
- Provision of premium for the health insurance scheme for urban refugees
- Implemented targeted vocational trainings and provide start up kits
- Provide allowance to facilitate enrollment of refugee children in primary schools and support to schools to scale up absorption capacity
- Comprehensive durable solutions strategy is developed and implemented which will minimize the risk of protracted refugee situations and manage refugees’ expectations.