In the light of the recent situation regarding the influx of Togolese Asylum-seekers into Nigeria who had camped outside the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) office on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi for the past few days, it is now confirmed that the NCFRMI, UNHCR & LASEMA agencies have come together today to find a lasting solution to the growing problem which had been a major concern to the public and the state.
The Togolese Asylum Seekers have now been moved and transferred to a secure location pending the determination of their refugee status.
Asylum-Seekers are persons who are seeking to be granted the status of Refugee by a host country.
These Togolese Asylum-seekers in question were originally in the Republic of Benin, where they had fled to during the political crisis which engulfed the Republic of Togo in 2005.
Having been in the Agame refugee camp in Benin Republic for the past ten (10) years, the government of Benin, upon realizing that things have returned to apparent normalcy in Tog,o asked the Refugees to either be reintegrated into the Beninoise society as the camp needed to be shut down or return to their country of origin (Togo), but they refused either of the options and have found their way into Nigeria.
As is the international practice, when these Asylum-seekers got to the NCFRMI office a month ago, they were duly registered by the Commission and given Attestation documents, these documents enable them to move about freely in the country, pending when their Refugee Status would be determined but they finally decided to camp outside the NCFRMI office of their own free will.
PRESS STATEMENT FROM NCFRMI SOUTHWEST ZONE OFFICE, IKOYI
We would like to notify the general public that the Togolese Asylum-seekers have been moved from Awolowo Road, Ikoyi to a secure location. At about 2:30pm on Friday, 14th August 2015, the Lagos State Government, through the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and other security agencies facilitated the movement of the Asylum-Seekers from the front of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) Office premises on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi to their Relief Camp in another part of Lagos.
We would also like to further intimate the general public that the Commission did not abandon the Asylum-Seekers, as erroneously reported on several media platforms, as they were given the full assistance of the Commission and were duly registered and given the relevant documentation to enable them move about freely. They however chose to camp outside the office premises for reasons best known to them.
This mandated the collaborative effort by the NCFRMI, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), LASEMA and other partner agencies to seek a speedy resolution, which would be according to international best practices and not lead to a diplomatic issue.
We would like to appreciate the prompt response of the Lagos State Government to alleviate the plight of the Togolese Asylum-seekers, and also the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of the Onikan Police Department for ensuring that men and officers of the force were on ground to ensure adequate security and protection.
Signed by: NCFRMI SouthWest Zone Office