Mamoudou Mouctar, who heads the Nigerien delegation at the summit said, Niamey is home to some 4,250 refugees from neighboring countries.
These refugees are mostly squatting in the outskirts of the city, Mr. Mouctar said, pointing out that those people who often flee abuses in their home countries ought to be welcomed with open arms and made to enjoy the dignity they deserve.
He was speaking during an Africities panel themed: “Harnessing the opportunities and mitigating the challenges of hosting refugees in urban and rural areas”.
He said that a toll-free number is available to refugees residing in Niamey so that their needs are taken care of without delay.
He stressed that all the structures and organizations working for the well-being of the displaced are clustered in a single desk in a bid to facilitate their reception and orientation.
Speaking at the meeting, Jean Pierre Leon Mbassi, Secretary General of the Union of Local Authorities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA), commended the work being done by the authorities in Niger to fast-track the integration of the displaced into Nigerien society.
He seized the opportunity to denounce the silence of the African authorities in the wake of the expulsion of thousands of Congolese refugees from Angola.
“We shed crocodile tears when Europe expels African refugees, but we are surprisingly silent when it is our own country which does it” he lamented.
He said there should be zero tolerance with assaults on human dignity wherever they may happen.