The National Emergency Management Agency ( NEMA) has said that only 126 Nigerians have fled the conflict areas as a result of the military operations against the Boko Haram insurgence.
Against the background of media report which puts the figure of those fleeing the troubled areas at about 6,000, the agency said available information showed that about 2,367 persons had crossed the border from Kashagar, Baga and Kuros communities in Borno State into Niger Republic.
NEMA's Director General, Muhammed Sani-Sidi, who addressed journalists yesterday in Abuja, said out of the 2,367 persons who fled to Niger, only 126 were officially confirmed to be Nigerian citizens.
"We want to state categorically that from information available to us, about 2,367 persons have crossed the border from Kashagar, Baga and Kuros communities all in the state to Diffa in the Republic of Niger. Out of this figure, 126 are Nigerians while the remaining are citizens of the Republic of Niger who have returned home due to the ongoing crises in the North-east region," he said.
Sani-Sidi said NEMA in collaboration with the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Nigerian Embassy in Niamey had already registered the 126 displaced Nigerians who have crossed into the Republic of Niger with a view to providing them with necessary humanitarian supports.
He said the report that 6,000 Nigerians had fled the country into the Republic of Niger was unfounded and not true.
"Our attention has been drawn to a publication of the Daily Trust Newspaper of May and series of enquiries from the media on the status of Nigerians who were said to have crossed the Nigerian border into the Republic of Niger in an attempt to flee from the operations of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the state.
"We wish to therefore, call on the media and concerned Nigerians to direct all further inquiries on the matter to NEMA for clarification.
While speaking on the humanitarian situation in the affected three states where emergency rule is operational, the DG said staff of NEMA were working hand in hand with the JTF in order to provide humanitarian assistance to the people living in the crisis areas.
He said the needs of the civilians were being catered for by the agency, adding that the agency was very careful not to interfere with the security operations going on the affected areas.
"We are not security personnel, we are only providing humanitarian assistance and nothing more. We are in contact with the security agencies to give unfettered access to our staff in the crisis area.
"I wish to further reiterate that in the spirit of the mutual cooperation between NEMA and the media, the doors of the agency are always open for enquires on humanitarian issues affecting the country. In conclusion, let me add that the media and members of the public should avoid unnecessary speculations on matters of national interest," he added.