The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has launched the National Action Plan to end Statelessness in Nigeria.
The Ministry, in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ministry of Interior and other stakeholders also inaugurated a high level Steering Committee to oversee the implementation of the National Action Plan.
At the launch held in Abuja on Friday, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq said that the National Action Plan will provide a framework for the prevention and eradication of statelessness as well as identify and protect stateless persons.
“A person can become stateless as a result of a myriad of reasons including lack of birth registrations, discrimination against minority groups on the basis of ethnicity, gender or religion, gaps in nationality laws and transfers of territory between existing States which can exclude people and make them at risk of statelessness. Persons who are at risk of statelessness include refugees, migrants, children whose births were not registered, normadic pastoralists and populations affected by border changes.
“The National Action Plan is designed to resolve existing situations of statelessness, prevent new cases of statelessness from emerging and protect stateless persons in Nigeria, in line with the global best practices in the eradication of statelessness highlighted in this paper.
“Realizing the devastating impact of statelessness and the importance of addressing it to ensure protection and fulfillment of human rights of stateless persons, the UN General Assembly by a resolution, mandated the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to lead global efforts to end Statelessness by supporting States in the identification, prevention, reduction and protection of stateless persons with the overall view of preventing and ending statelessness. On this premise the UNHCR launched the ‘I Belong’ campaign’ and in consultation with States, developed the UNHCR Global Action Plan (Global Action Plan) to end Statelessness, which serves as a global road map for States to help end statelessness”.
Ten Member States, including Burkina Faso, Gambia, Benin Republic, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Togo and Nigeria have so far put in place National Action Plans to end statelessness.
In attendance was the Minister, Federal Ministry of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, Country Representative UNHCR, Chansa Kapaya, the Representative of the Permanent Secretary (FMHADMSD), Director Humanitarian Affairs, Grema Ali Alhaji, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr. Shuaib M. L Belgore and other dignitaries.