UNHCR concerned about displaced NigeriansListen /
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) on Wednesday voiced concern about the safety and welfare of people displaced in northern Nigeria by the activities of the militant Boko Haram group and the government's response.
Reports from the north indicate that many people have been left internally displaced and others have fled across borders and sought shelter in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
UNHCR also urged Nigeria and other governments in the region to offer protection to the internally displaced or those seeking asylum.
Director of UNHCR's Africa Bureau George Okoth-Obbo said the agency "remains concerned for the safety of the civilian population, especially those who may be forced to flee from their homes in search of safety".
In Niger, UNHCR has confirmed the arrival of at least 2,400 people from Nigeria. Elsewhere, reports suggest that Nigerians may have been prevented from entering Cameroon because of measures taken to prevent the infiltration of armed groups.
UNHCR is in contact with the Cameroon authorities to verify the reports and their impact on legitimate asylum-seekers.
Mr. Okoth-Obbo said "The authorities have a legitimate responsibility to secure national security. At the same time, it is vital to ensure the safety and protection of civilians caught in this situation and their right to seek asylum in neighbouring countries".
Donn Bobb, United Nations.