LAGOS – Ms Angele Dikongue-Atangana, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative in Nigeria, on Friday urged Nigerians to always show love to refugees and internally displaced persons.
Dikongue-Atangana made the appeal in Lagos at an event to mark this year World Refugees Day jointly organised by UNHCR and the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI).
“What we are celebrating today is the resilience of those people who are deprived of virtually everything, but still believe in some future. They still have some hope.
“We need to know that these refugees and other internally displaced persons are presently in desperate situations.
“We are, therefore, calling on Nigerians to save the lives of these people in their communities,’’ she said.
Dikongue-Atangana said that there were currently refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Cote d’ Ivoire and Mali in Nigeria.
According to her, there are currently over 50 million displaced persons and refugees around the world.
The UNHCR chief in Nigeria also urged humanitarian and international communities to support in the rehabilitation of refugees in Nigeria.
She said that the commissioner would continue to pursue its vision of securing international protection and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers.
Dikongue-Atangana also restated UNHCR and NCFRMI’s commitment to the protection of the rights and wellbeing of refugees in Nigeria.
A refugee from Guinea Bissua, Umu Balde, who lost her father before coming to Nigeria, appealed to Nigerians and UNHCR to support her in the upkeep of her siblings in Nigeria.
Balde said that she had resorted to the sale of “Zobo” to be able to provide food for mother, brothers and sisters.
She expressed determination to continue to live in Nigeria with her family if there were means of livelihood.
The refugees’ children, thorough dramas and songs, also called on African Governments, Nigerians and the international community to show them love.
The event had in attendance over 200 refugees drawn from Ijebu Ode in Ogun and Lagos State. (NAN)