Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called on the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments to suspend the ill-timed repatriation of Nigerian refugees numbering about 150,000 at camps in Northern Cameroon.
UNHCR warned that the execution of this plan may spell doom for about 26 million displaced persons on the Africa continent.
Speaking at a high level meeting to discuss the impending dangers the forced return of Nigerian refugees from Cameroon portends Friday in Maiduguri, the UNHCR Regional Representative Liz Ahua urged all humanitarian bodies to be concerned about the emergencies which the return of the refugees might create.
She said: “The return of the refugees is not actually the problem but our concern should be that we do not have another emergency in our hands where the refugees now become part of the huge number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).”
Ahua said if Cameroon and Nigeria go ahead with the “forceful” repatriation of the Nigerian refugees, a dangerous precedence might be set where other African countries would ask refugees on their soil to leave.