FOLLOWING the recent influx of 19,257 Nigerian refugees from Cameroon, the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) has promised to address their urgent needs. Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, Federal Commissioner, NCFRMI, made the pledge in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
She said that protecting, assisting and providing succour to refugees, IDPs, asylum seekers and other persons of concern remained the priority of the commission. She said that urgent and special intervention was coming as a result of the 887 Nigerian refugees who came from Kolofata, Cameroon, on Tuesday to Banki in Borno. Farouq said the large number of returnees would stretch the humanitarian aid already on ground for IDPs and so the need for more relief assistance to help cater to their needs.
“In line with its mandate as the lead and coordinating body on issues of refugees, IDPs, migrants and other persons of concern, the commission will swing into action immediately to provide protection and succour to the returnees. “This is also as part of the commission’s regular intervention through provision of relief materials to address their immediate needs. “The commission is also committed to providing durable solutions to all persons of concern, including refugees, IDPs and migrants. “We would also ensure their orderly, safe, humane and dignified return whenever they want to,’’ Farouq said.
On Tuesday, the influx of additional 887 refugees from Kolofata, in the far north region of Cameroon gave rise to concerns on the reasons for the spontaneous returns. In a statement, Mr Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), warned that the involuntary return of refugees must be avoided. Grandi said that UNHCR was alarmed over a fresh incident of forced returns of refugees from Cameroon into northeast Nigeria.
He said that this was followed by repeated warnings that refugees were returning to a dangerous situation where the conditions of return were not yet safe and sustainable. “The involuntary return of refugees must be avoided under any circumstances. “The returns to Nigeria put strains on the few existing services and are not sustainable at this time.
“A new emergency just as the rainy season is starting has to be avoided at all costs,’’ Grandi said. Grandi said that UNHCR was renewing its call on Cameroon and Nigeria to refrain from further forced returns and urged both governments to convene a meeting of the Tripartite Commission. He said the Tripartite Commission was established under a recent agreement of both governments with UNHCR to ensure a facilitated voluntary return process of refugees in line with international standard.
The latest incident happened after Cameroon gave the refugees seven days’ notice on June 19 to return to Nigeria. The Cameroonian Government, however, denied forcefully repatriating the refugees but that the return took place with their consent.
Source: Nigerian Tribune