Nigerian-American Christians, under the umbrella of the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN), on Wednesday called on the Nigerian government to do its utmost to care for refugees spilling out of the country as the Boko Haram attacks in northern Nigeria grow in intensity.

In a statement in New York by its Executive Director, Pastor Laolu Akande, CANAN called attention to the increasing frustration of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) over the situation.

“CANAN is concerned that the federal government of Nigeria and the governments of the affected states are not doing enough to cater for the refugee situation that have been created by the Boko Haram situation,” the statement stated.

Equally CANAN stated that what is being reported in the media regarding the current welfare package of the Nigerian soldiers in the forefront of the terrorism fight against Boko Haram “very disheartening,” and “must be urgently improved.”

It drew attention to the statement by UNHCR on Tuesday in which the agency said it was increasingly alarmed at the humanitarian impact of continuing violence in northeastern Nigeria and stressed the importance of protecting civilians.

The UN agency statement noted, “newly arrived refugees interviewed by UNHCR staff in Niger have spoken of atrocities on the islands and shores of Lake Chad in north-east Nigeria's Borno state,” and quoted a Nigerian woman describing how corpses are strewn “through houses and floating in the water.”

The woman was reported as saying the people are now so afraid that they are no longer staying back to bury their dead or find missing relatives.

The agency spokesman Adrian Edwards, in Geneva, told journalists on Tuesday that other refugees “recounted fleeing a village shooting incident and said women and children were being kidnapped and taken away by unidentified assailants,"

The latest attacks are reported to have begun in mid-February and were continuing five days ago, Edwards said.

"In all some 2,000 people have crossed into south-east Niger's Diffa region over the past four weeks according to our partner, the International Rescue Committee," the agency spokesperson disclosed.

In addition to the attacks on Lake Chad, some of the new arrivals have come from conflicted areas near Borno's state capital, Maiduguri.

"UNHCR reiterates to all parties to the conflict in north-eastern Nigeria the vital importance of protecting civilians from harm," the spokesperson stated.

The UN reported that insurgency in the three northeastern Nigerian states of Yobe, Adamawa and Borno have displaced more than 470,000 people inside Nigeria. Refugees arriving in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad, and Niger are in addition to this.

Since Nigeria declared a state of emergency in the three states in May 2013, more than 57,000 people have fled to Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Some 17,000 of these are registered Nigerian refugees. The rest are nationals of the surrounding countries who had been living in Nigeria for decades.

Niger has received the majority – some 40,000 concentrated in the Diffa region, a desert in the country's eastern edge.

CANAN specifically called on the Nigerian authorities to ensure that the emergency rule becomes effective again, lamenting that the presence of the military in the states have become a moot thing considering the rising level of Boko Haram attacks and the surging levels of violence.

CANAN noted that “Boko Haram is making nonsense of the claim of the Nigerian government to be in charge of the situation, and we want the federal government to redouble its security effort to contain the situation again.”

The statement commended the plan to create a new special force to deal with Boko Haram, but also challenged the Nigerian Military High Command to rectify the low morale of the soldiers in the forefront of the battle by beefing up their welfare package and ensuring that they are adequately equipped.”

According to CANAN, if reports in the media regarding the current welfare package of the Nigerian soldiers in the forefront of the terrorism fight against Boko Haram is true, then it is a very disheartening situation that must be urgently improved.”