The African delegation to the 133rd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly holding in Geneva, Switzerland, is to present issue of refugees arising from Boko Haram insurgency and other terrorist groups, it was learnt yesterday.
The decision of the African regional group was articulated at a meeting preceding the opening session, which was chaired by the leader of the Nigerian delegation and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yusuff Lasun.
At the meeting, several countries complained about Boko Haram and the effects of its activities on the socio-economic life of the people.
The latest figure for refugees and displaced persons in the Northeast was put at over five million.
However, a Sudan’s position was adopted by the contingent after a robust debate on its effectiveness.
Lasun, who is the chairman of the African regional group, said adopting and supporting a common position by the African group showed how concerned the continent is about refugees.
He said: “After listening to the representative of Sudan, it was not difficult to adopt the presentation because it was sound and workable.
“Most African countries can relate with the issue because of the effect of refugees on the socio-economic development of our respective countries.
“Though, it is a global challenge, but as Africans – whether it was through wars, natural disasters or activities of insurgent groups like Boko Haram or Al-shabaab – we all know how it feels.
“As a result, we are duty-bound to do what we think will benefit the entire continent, that will also add value to our lives.
“We cannot afford to treat the issue of refugees with levity, it has to be deliberated, coordinated and vigorously implemented.”
The leader of the Senate delegation, Senator Kabiru Gaya, said Nigeria was made to preside over the African regional group because of its leadership position on the continent.
“The regional group was aware of the leadership roles Nigeria has been playing on several fronts globally, including conflict resolution. It was not difficult when our delegation moved to chair the regional group meeting.
“All the members were also aware how critical and decisive Nigeria’s support could be on many of these issues,” Gaya said.