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PARIS, NOVEMBER 17, 2016: (DGW) It never rains, they often say, but it pours. The Nigerian Government, according to reports, is very disturbed by a string of reports from the United Nations about the trend of events in Nigeria as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) releases yet another report that 1.8 million persons are internally displaced in the North East region of Nigeria.
The UNHCR representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS and acting UN resident coordinator, Angele Dikongue-Atangana stated this on Wednesday in her opening remark during the Annual Stakeholders Briefing of the UN refugee agency in the country.
According to her, Nigeria faces immense humanitarian and protection challenges associated with the ongoing insurgency in the North East.
She said, “Contributing to the effective response to this crisis and pursuing protection and durable solutions particularly to the internal displacement is central to UNHCR operational strategy in Nigeria.
Dikongue-Atangana, however noted that UNHCR operational strategy for Nigeria 2016/2018 outlines the strategic objectives for the office in 2016/2018 and interventions to be carried out by the office in collaboration with its partners and operational modalities in implementing the core mandate of the office. While the main focus of the strategy remains the contribution by UNHCR Nigeria to the inter-agency response to the internal displacement crisis in the North East.
Tackling the enormous humanitarian challenges in the North East, she lamented that, “The greatest challenge of the operation remains funding shortfall and the insecurity that impedes fluid delivery in the newly accessible areas.
She added that though all agencies are ranking up to deliver on their mandate, the magnitude of the crisis remain huge, so are the need. While appealing from more support from the donors and stakeholders, the UNHCR representative in Nigeria, said “All hands must be on deck to deliver on the mandate”.
Mrs Dikongue-Atangana, further revealed that, “It is in response to the above described situation that UNHCR established a sub office in Maiduguri and five field units in Bauchi, Makurdi, Damaturu, Jalingo and Yola. It is also based on the UNHCR Nigeria operational strategy, country operational plan and Humanitarian Response Plan that the office implemented various activities through direct and indirect implementation to ensure that persons concern access and enjoy their rights.
“UNHCR prioritized protection response in the Northeast in the following areas: registration and profiling; partnership and coordination; camp management and coordination; shelter, core relief items and services for person with specific needs; monitoring of the situation of persons of concern and strengthening prevention and response to SGBV; strengthening community leadership and decision making and supporting self-reliance and livelihood and advocacy on the fundamental principles of durable solutions.

“In the context of its collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States, UNHCR signed a memorandum of understanding with the ECOWAS Parliament aimed at formalizing collaboration between the two parties that would give better protection to the rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the other helpless groups within the ECOWAS sub-region. The signing was preceded by a one-day workshop on the role of the parliamentarians in addressing statelessness and displacement of persons within the sub-region.
“In 2016, UNHCR in Nigeria significantly scaled up its activities in North east Nigeria in response to the increasing needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs). The agency identied 133,294 vulnerable IDPs in screening activities, registered 143,848 Nigerian returnees from neighboring countries, 22,206 individuals received emergency shelter, 96,624 individuals provided with material protection-based assistance, 3,180 persons trained in core protection services (peacebuilding, CCCM, mainstreaming).
“In order to better serve the IDPs, the agency relocate its sub office from Bauchi to the centre of gravity in Maiduguri which is the epicenter of the displacement crises and hosting most of the IDPs. In order to effectively implement its activities, the agency rapidly increased its staffing needs from 63 staff members (46 national and 17 international) to 97 (60 national and 37 international).
“The overarching aim of UNHCR’s operational strategy in Nigeria is to support the government and authorities to establish an effective coordination and protection system for refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs, stateless persons, returnees and other persons of concern, with a particular emphasis on protection-focused response to the displacement crisis in the North east. In its advocacy drive, UNHCR senior management met with the president of the Nigerian Senate to lobby for the creation of a committee on IDPs and other persons of concern in like manner as the House of Representatives Committee on IDPs and Northeast Initiative,” the UNHCR Nigeria representative said.
Concluding she said, “The government has in recent weeks taken steps to improve inter-ministerial coordination for humanitarian response by setting up a high-level inter-ministerial committee to coordinate the humanitarian response to the North east. UNHCR held a high-level consultation with its key counterparts including the National Human Rights Commission, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, the National Emergency Management Agency, the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, the House Committee on IDPs, Refugees and the North East Initiative.”
Other speakers during the meeting include, Federal Government chief humanitarian coordinator, Dr Ayoade Olatubosun-Alakija; high commissioner of Cameroon to Nigeria and dean of diplomatic corps, HE Salaheddine Abbas Ibrahima, amongst others.

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