Togolese migrants presently camped in Lagos have appealed to the Nigerian government to grant them asylum.
The 199 migrants came to Nigeria after being expelled from Benin Republic and gathered at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode ordered that they be moved to the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) resettlement centres in Agbowa and Igando where they are presently camped.
Speaking with Daily Trust yesterday at the Agbowa camp, their leader, Aholou Koffi, said they fled Togo for Benin Republic 10 years ago due to the political unrest in their country after the presidential election.
According to him, the government of Benin Republic refused to grant them asylum even after spending 10 years there.
For 10 years, we stayed in open tents in Benin Republic and the government refused to grant us the status of refugees. Right now as I speak, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Benin Republic has been closed down. The Benin Republic government meted all kinds of inhuman treatment to us, and that is why we came to Nigeria, he said.
We hereby appeal to the government of Nigeria to grant us asylum because the government in Togo who hunted us for campaigning for the opposition is still in power, so we cannot go back, Koffi added.
He commended the Lagos State government for providing them temporary accommodation at the relief camps.
The state government itself recently called on the federal government to direct the Ministry of Interior to take over their resettlement as their continued stay is putting pressure on facilities at the centres.