BY LAWRENCE ETIM.
Despite the fact that Nigeria is not at war, Nigerians are now refugees in neighbouring countries as more than 57,000 people have fled to Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic as a result of insurgency by Boko Haram, according to the United Nations.
The world body also disclosed that about half a million people have been internally displaced in the country which it described as a very alarming situation.
Spokesperson of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, Mr Adrian Edwards, who spoke with reporters said of 57,000 people who fled Nigeria, 17,000 are registered as Nigerians while the rest are nationals from neighbouring countries who have been living in Nigeria for ages.
He said: “Since Nigeria declared a state of emergency in the three states in May 2013, more than 57,000 people have fled to Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Some 17,000 of these are registered Nigerian refugees. The rest are nationals of the surrounding countries who had been living in Nigeria for decades.” He disclosed that Niger received the majority — some 40,000 concentrated in the Diffa region, a desert in the country’s eastern edge.
According to him, many of those fleeing North-Eastern Nigeria are traumatized and left with very few possessions, adding that besides the Lake Chad area, some of the new arrivals are from the Borno State capital, Maiduguri.
According to him, “One woman described corpses strewn through houses and floating in the water. She said people feared staying even to bury their dead or find missing relatives. Others recounted fleeing a village shooting incident and said women and children were being kidnapped and taken away by unidentified assailants.