THE federal government has pledged that it would soon end statelessness in the country, saying it had already initiated plans aimed at permanently ending the development.
The government’s pledge to end the development came on the heels of a one-day sensitisation workshop on the national action plan to end statelessness in Nigeria, attended by its representatives, those of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees as well as relevant stakeholders in the country.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Alhaji Bashir Alkali, who stated this through his representative at the occasion and Director of Humanitarian in the ministry, Alhaji Ali Grema, said the government had already initiated plans to end statelessness in Nigeria by giving identities to Nigerians in different parts of the country.
Describing the sensitisation workshop as apt,Alkali said it was an important moment to put in place strategies and procedures to ensure that those who are entitled to Nigerian citizenship but lack the evidence to show their connection, are enabled to verify their citizenship.
Hear him: “This sensitisation workshop is on the national action plan to end statelessness in Nigeria. Considering that statelessness is a human right issue, a humanitarian issue, a development issue as well as a peace and security issue, addressing statelessness will go a long way towards realising the Sustainable Development Goals in the context of Nigeria’s national development agenda.
“It is thus, an important moment to put in place strategies and procedures to ensure that those who are entitled to Nigerian citizenship, but lack the evidence to show their connection, are enabled to verify their citizenship.”
According to him,”The Government of Nigeria recognises the importance and urgency of obtaining concrete information on the causes of statelessness and scope of stateless persons in Nigeria.”
He urged participants to bring their various technical experiences in the humanitarian field to bear, so as to “ensure robust decisions.”
Earlier, the Senior Protection Officer, UNHCR, Mwihaki Kinyanju, while speaking, noted that the problem of statelessness was a global one, explaining that the UNHCR has put in place measures to address the issue.
She said: “The problem of statelessness is global, not only in Nigeria. It is a human rights issue. Anyone not recognised as a citizen of a country is already denied certain privileges and services.”
According to her, “Affected people cannot progress as individuals, families or societies.”
She said her organisation has adopted three factors in solving the issue of statelessness among which she mentioned as “better identification of the affected group, protection of the group and prevention of incidents that could lead to statelessness.”
Vanguard News Nigeria