The National Action Plan to End Statelessness in Nigeria has been launched by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.
A high-level Steering Committee was also established by the Ministry to oversee the execution of the National Action Plan in cooperation with the UNHCR, the Ministry of Interior, and other stakeholders.
The National Action Plan, according to Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development Sadiya Farouq, will offer a framework for the identification and protection of stateless people as well as for the prevention and elimination of statelessness.
Farouq said; “A person can become stateless as a result of a myriad of reasons including lack of birth registrations, discrimination against minority groups based on 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, nomadic 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.
“Realising 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, ” Farouq stated.
Ten member States, including Burkina Faso, Gambia, Benin Republic, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Togo, and Nigeria have so far put in place a National Action Plans to end statelessness.