Okon Bassey in Uyo
No fewer than 142 Cameroonian are taking refuge in Akwa Ibom State as a result of the crisis rocking the Southern and English-speaking areas of Cameroon, the State Comptroller of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Livingstone Amadi disclosed weekend.
Amadi who made the disclosure during an interview in Uyo said the refugees currently spread across three local government areas of the state.
The State Comptroller of NIS, who is barely three months old in the state, said the Cameroonian refugees were being camped in makeshift structures in Oron, Eket and Mkpat Enin Local Government Areas of the State.
According to him, the Akwa Ibom government had assisted with relief materials, stressing that the Cameroonian refugees experience was a national issue to Nigeria given the influx of people from Southern Cameroon.
â€œYou know border states like Cross River, Benue and Taraba, are also affected by the refugees fleeing English-speaking areas of Cameroon into Nigeria.
â€œThe Akwa Ibom state government had sent relief materials to the three different camps to support the refugees there. We have also gotten delegations from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR),â€ he added.
Since last year the English-speaking regions of Cameroon had witnessed tensions over alleged discrimination against them by the majority French-speaking population, leading to thousands fleeing the country.
Amadi said within the last three months of his assumption of duty, he had rebranded the state headquarters to make the work environment attractive to both staff and the public.
â€œWe have tiled the passport office, giving facelift to the comptrollerâ€™s office; we are tiling the production and enrolment office in the next one week. We are making judicious application of the little funds that we have,â€ Amadi stated.
The NIS comptroller said he was impressed with the conduct of his officers in the command, emphasising that his officers had exhibited the highest sense decorum in border management.
â€œThe Federal Government is working on modalities for ease of doing business in Nigeria, my officers are very responsible, they cannot brutalise any businessman coming in or going out of Nigeria.
â€œWe are a security agency of government interfacing with the public at all times. My officers had been conducting themselves in an orderly manner depicting the behaviour of trained and disciplined officers,â€ he maintained.
He said it was unfounded that his men had been extorting money and brutalising travellers along Oron beach in Oron local government area of the state.