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Asylum and refugee status are special legal protections guaranteed by Article 14(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which is available to people who have left their home country for their own safety and are afraid to return.
This generally means that if one is able to relocate and live safely within one’s home country, one may not be eligible for asylum.
A total of 4,001 people from Nigeria sought asylum in France; 3,303 in Germany; 3, 151 in Italy, and 2,144 in the United States.
Overall, 3, 678 of the asylum applications were accepted, while 13, 665 were rejected. The most successful have been the refugees in Mexico, Norway, Guinea and in Tunisia, with 100 per cent acceptance rate. These countries also recorded the least amount of applications.
Another statistics by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reveals that a total of 317, 358 Nigerian refugees are resident in Chad, Cameroon and Niger, as at June 31.
In a breakdown of the figure, the UN Refugee Agency said 182, 730 of them were in Niger, while 118,334 were in Cameroon with the remaining 16,294 residing in Chad.
Violent attacks perpetuated by Boko Haram and other armed groups in Nigeria’s North-East have led to and worsening security in the region, forcing many to flee to neighbouring countries for safety.
However, the violent attacks have since spilled over Nigeria’s North-Eastern frontier to Cameroon, Chad and Niger, into what has become a devastating regional conflict. This has resulted in the displacement of over 3.2 million people in the region and a refugee crisis that is now in its 7th year.
The crisis has been exacerbated by conflict-induced food insecurity and severe malnutrition, which have risen to critical levels in all four countries. Despite the efforts of governments and humanitarian aid, some 12.5 million people remain in need of humanitarian assistance in the Lake Chad Basin region, with 5.3 million people remaining food insecure.
The challenges of protecting the displaced are compounded by the deteriorating security situation as well as socio-economic fragility, with communities in the Sahel region facing chronic poverty, a harsh climatic conditions, recurrent epidemics, poor infrastructure and limited access to basic services.
The UNHCR is joining efforts with the governments of these countries to provide support to displaced persons and assist returning refugees and IDPs to regain their dignity and a sense of normal life.
However, Nigeria is not only a country from which many people escape. There are also refugees from other countries, who apply for asylum in the country hoping for a better future.
In 2020, Nigeria received 875 asylum applications from refugees of other countries seeking to stay in the country. The most successful have been the refugees from Cameroon, Syria, Central Africa and Congo.