Thousands of Southern Cameroonians fleeing to Cross River State in Nigeria
The Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has said that 40,791 Cameroonians are taking refuge in the state following the crisis in southwest Cameroon.
SEMA Director-General, Princewill Ayim, said on Tuesday in Calabar that the UN High Commission released the latest figure for Refugees (UNHCR) in January.
“The latest figure released by the UNHCR in January 2022 shows that Cross River is now accommodating 40,791 Cameroonian refugees,” Mr Ayim said.
Mr Ayim said that due to the closeness of some communities to the borders, the state had to accommodate the “persons of concern’’ and abide by the 1951 Refugee Convention, which Nigeria is a signatory.
He said the refugees were scattered across nine local government areas of the state – Calabar Municipality, Calabar South, Bakassi, Akamkpa, Etung, Ikom, Boki, Ogoja and Obanliku.
“Already, we have over 104,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) spread across Abi, Biase, Bakassi, Odukpani, Obanliku and Ogoja Local Government Areas due to the communal crisis, flood and border issues,” he said.
He added that the refugees were predominantly from southwest Cameroon and were displaced due to the crisis between the Ambazonia separatists and the country’s military.
He recalled that in February, an inter-ministerial team visited all the host communities and refugee settlements across the state.
Mr Ayim stated that the visit also allowed the team to see how they could implement the comprehensive refugees’ response framework in the state.
“Our schools and health facilities are overstretched due to the increasing number of refugees,’’ added the official.