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Refugees’ commission trains staff on nationality screening for asylum seekers

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The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) has engaged its case officers on nationality screening for asylum seekers to strengthen their capacity towards enhancing service delivery.

Speaking at the workshop on Wednesday in Keffi, Nasarawa State, the Federal Commissioner, NCFRMI, Hajiya Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim said the aim of the training was to deepen officers’ knowledge on the subject matter.

Sulaiman-Ibrahim said that Nigeria had about 100,000 registered refugees, adding that asylum seekers among them were undergoing the process of either achieving refugee status or returned if they declined.

According to her, the training will enhance accuracy of nationality screening for asylum seekers and refugees in the country.

“The significance of this discussion cannot be over-emphasized. The Commission’s Act 2022, a person can only be a refugee if he/she is outside his/her country of nationality.

“Or for those who are stateless outside their country of habitual residence. Nationality screening for refugees is therefore essential in determining eligibility for refugee status,” Sulaiman-Ibrahim said.

On asylum seekers, she said for them to be granted asylum, they must fulfill the stipulation of the 1951 Act of the Commission.

Sulaiman-Ibrahim explained further that they must be genuinely non – Nigerians who were fleeing from persecutions.

“In Nigeria some of the asylum seekers have Nigerian parents, grand or great grandparents, spouses or children. Establishing nationality of claimants with such ties may not be easy for RSD and litigation officers.

“The Commission is committed to supporting measures such as this that contribute to building staff capacity and strengthening the integrity of the asylum space.

“NCFRMI remains very committed to work with partners towards provision of sustainable protection and assistance as well as durable solutions for our persons of concern, including refugees,” she said.

On her part, Ms Mwihaki Kinyanjui, Senior Protection Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said that the agency would continue to support the government towards enhancing protection of refugees in the country.

“We do support the Nigerian government in ensuring the standard for screening new arrivals to meet the international and national standard for the protection of refugees,” Kinyanjui said. (NAN)

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