The Federal Government has pledged to strengthen its cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the voluntary return of Nigerian refugees outside the shores of the country.
The Minister of Interior, retired Lt. – Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau made the pledge when he received the newly-appointed UNHCR Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Antonio Canhandula in his office.
Mr Willie Bassey, Director Press in the Ministry said this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
Dambazau said that Nigeria was working round the clock to protect the interest of its citizens, who have been displaced as a result of insurgency in Nigeria and other security challenges.
He noted that Nigeria has had long years of cooperation and partnership with the UN body in matters relating to Refugees and Stateless Persons.
The minister described as successful the recently signed Tripartite Agreement between Nigeria, Cameroon and UNHCR on the voluntary return of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon.
He however drew the attention of the UNHCR boss to the reported cases of involuntary return of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon without reference to the signed agreement in which such returnees were to do so voluntarily.
“Even though the account say that the Nigerian Refugees were not from a refugee camp; we urge you to contact the UNHCR office in Cameroon to clarify matters on the issue,” he said.
In his response, Canhandula expressed optimism that the UNCHR and the Federal Government of Nigeria would continue to deepen their cooperation and partnership in the interest of humanity.
He pledged to ensure that Nigeria and the UNHCR continue to work together to protect the interest of Nigerian refugees and other displaced Nigerians.