The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has said over 80,000 refugees and 3.2 million internally displaced persons were in Nigeria and in dire need of help.
It said most Nigerians were unaware that the country was hosting over 80,000 refugees, particularly in the southern states, as the bulk of the refugees were from Cameroon.
The agency added that the sidelines of the workshop on maximizing the power of zakat to support families forced to flee in Nigeria.
The UNHCR Representative in Nigeria, Chansa Kapaya, said the event was put together to gather funds to support IDPs and refugees.
She said, “With the massive forced displacement of people, funds are never enough and certainly not for the IDPs or refugees in this country. So all these are just efforts to increase the amount of resources that will go to supporting and helping people.
“We have 3.2 million IDPs in Nigeria and over 80 refugees and we think most people in Nigeria don’t even know that we have so many refugees that are hosted by Nigeria.
“Most of them are from Cameroon, they are in the southern states of Nigeria and then, of course, you have IDPs in the North-East, the middle belt and the North-West. So there is a massive number of people that are in need and need support.”
On the projected target contribution needed to support refugees and IDPs this year, Kapaya said, “We are looking at $30m.”
She said the UNHCR inaugurated the Islamic Philanthropy campaign in 2020, adding that “last year, we managed to collect only about $98,000
“This was provided to some vulnerable families in the North-East, mostly through livelihood kits and some non-food items which went directly to them.”
“So we are building on that initiative and the progress that we’ve made. We are hoping through this kind of forum to encourage more support. This is a small fraction of the collection of resources.”
Kapaya said the UNHCR was advocating partnerships, as the number of globally displaced persons had been increasing worldwide.
“So, of course, we have to look at different partnerships and mechanisms for resource mobilisation,” she stated.