Where is Home without Legal Status? Understanding the Choice to Stay Among Post-Cessation Liberians in Nigeria

Published: 31/Oct/2023
Source: Refugee Survey Quarterly

By Tosin Samuel Durodola

Refugee Survey Quarterly, 2023


This article examines the experiences of “residual” Liberian refugees in Nigeria, individuals who remained in their country of asylum after the UNHCR terminated their refugee status. This study explores how the diverse interpretations of home and flight contribute to their decision to “stay” rather than opt for voluntary repatriation. In the context of transnationalism, the concept of simultaneity, where individuals feel a sense of belonging in both their home country and their host nation, underscores the need to consider the dynamics of movement and attachment in both places, and how these connections evolve over time. However, the idealisation of home as an unchanging and secure haven can result in flawed policy decisions that overlook the fact that many refugees have been displaced precisely because their homeland is no longer safe. The findings shed light on the aftermath of cessation, which might place “residual refugees” in a precarious position where they must navigate the intricate interplay between agency and constraint without state protection. This article offers a broader perspective on their ability to manoeuvre within these confines, balancing between two aspects: legal status and social leverage as responses to their precarious legal situation and transitional efforts to establish new homes.

Download (open access) https://doi.org/10.1093/rsq/hdad019

Themes: Naturalisation and Marriage, ID Documents and Passports, Nationality and Refugees, Statelessness
Regions: Nigeria
Year: 2023