The Federal Government on Wednesday in Abuja says addressing statelessness will go a long way towards realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the context of Nigeria’s national development agenda.
Alhaji Bashir Alkali, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, stated this in his keynote address at a one-day sensitization workshop on a National Action Plan to end statelessness in Nigeria.
The Workshop was organised by the Ministry in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Statelessness is where an individual or group of persons have no identity, state protection, access to services, suffer displacement and have limited enjoyment of rights.
Alkali, who was represented at the event by the Director, Humanitarian Services, in the Ministry, Alhaji Ali Grema, identified statelessness as a human right, humanitarian, development, peace and security issue.
“Thus, it is 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.
“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,” Alkali said.
Speaking earlier, Ms Mwihaki Kinyaju, Senior Protection Officer at the UNHCR, said addressing statelessness can only be achieved through collaboration among relevant stakeholders.
Kinyanju said the three objectives of the National Action Plan to end statelessness included working with States, better identification and protection and prevention.
“We look forward to collaboration with the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders to ensure that the issue of statelessness is resolved”.
NAN reports that those present at the event included officials from the Ministry, UNHCR and Water Saves Life Initiative. (NAN)