Source: New Telegraph (Nigeria)
By: Olajide Adelana
Participants at a round-table meeting organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja have harped on the need for West African countries to have robust biometric data of people living in the region.
The roundtable which was on addressing statelessness in the ECOWAS region had in attendance experts from UNHCR, ECOWAS, civil society organizations, ministry of interior, academia, and the media.
Statelessness which occurs when a person is not considered as a nationality of any country has become a major issue worldwide with about 10 million people said to be stateless. It is estimated that at least 1 million stateless people reside in West Africa and Nigeria adds significantly to this burden with over 750,000 stateless people allegedly residing in the country.
Experts have however warned that the figure might increase considering the spate of violence in the West Africa sub-region particularly in Nigeria that has been battling Boko Haram crisis in the north east, farmers-herders crisis in the north central and Bakassi crisis in south-southern state of Cross River.