120,000 Nigerian Refugees Beg Tinubu to Facilitate Their Return Back Home

120,000 Nigerian Refugees Beg Tinubu to Facilitate Their Return Back Home

•Say life in Cameroon camps no longer bearable 

•Demand compensation for government’s failure to protect them from Boko Haram onslaught

Alex Enumah in Abuja

Nigerian refugees in Cameroon (NRC) have called on President Bola Tinubu to expedite action that would see them return to their ancestral homes they over 10 years ago, owing to the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists group.

The refugees totalling 120,000 in various camps in the northern part of Cameroon, predicated their calls on the excruciating standard of living in the camps.

The group in a letter dated January 8, 2024, signed by its President Luka Isaac, observed that, “the hardship has become so severe that some unscrupulous people are taking advantage of the refugees by exploiting them in different ways including human trafficking,” adding that, “As time passes by this situation is worsening.”

The NRC recalled how they had fled their ancestral homes in Borno State in 2013, to take refuge in Cameroon following the activities of Boko Haram terrorists. They said on arrival in Cameroon the authorities there and the United Nations agencies including the UN High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) and other international agencies attended to their basic needs at the various camps.

“As time went by, the supplies of basic necessities depleted and we resorted to rationing such supplies. At present, the supplies have become erratic, thereby exposing the refugees to serious challenges, including hunger and health problems,” he said.

“The UNHCR and the Cameroonian authorities expect the Federal Government of Nigeria to prepare and return the refugees to their communities in Nigeria,” he added.

While stating that the coming of Tinubu as President in times like these was a new source of hope and restoration for Nigerians, the group passionately pleaded with the government and other organisations to come to their aid under the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Tinubu.

Besides, they urged the federal government to live up to its primary responsibility of protecting lives and property of citizens and provide welfare to the refugees.

Meanwhile, the NRC urged the president to improve the security situation in Gwoza East by establishing government through the deployment of soldiers and relevant security agencies, especially at Ashigashiya, Kirawa, Attagara and Barawa for a start and renovate the old and destroyed police station at Arboko.

In addition, they said the government should set up camps in about 21 villages in Gwoza East of Borno State to enable their return to their communities and start reviving their economic activities.

They also called on the government and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to, “pay adequate compensation to the refugees as general damages for the destruction of our property and the untold hardships, mental anguish, inconveniences and disruption of our family lives for failing to protect and or enforce our rights to live and dignity of the human person.”

They argued that their return to their ancestral homes would not only save them from continued harassment and dehumanisation but also redeem the image of the federal government from the perception of the outside world.

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