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FG, UN, Cameroon sign deal on return of 65,000 refugees

By Ike Uchechukwu

CALABAR—The Federal Government has revealed that it has signed a tripartite agreement with the United Nations and Cameroun for the safety and smooth return of about 65,000 Nigerians domiciled in that country.

Hajia Umar Farouk, Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, NCFRMI, disclosed this in Calabar, Cross River State, yesterday, while flagging off the distribution of food and non-food items to internally displaced persons, IDPs, from Bakassi.

According to her, the agreement will ensure the safety, proper handling as well as voluntary safe return of about 65,000 Nigerians who are domiciled in Cameroun.

She said: “The tripartite agreement was signed by Nigeria, Cameroun and the UN and it is an agreement that will ensure the safety of our nationals, and we have about 65,000 Nigerians who are living there. After their profiling, those who want to return to Nigeria voluntarily can do so.”

She assured that the commission will ensure that they are quickly reintegrated into the country as they are ready to address the plight of the refugees.

“The people of Bakassi cannot be allowed to become stateless. No Nigerian can be allowed to become stateless. Plans are in top gear to ensure the proper resettlement of the people of Bakassi,” she assured.

Women and children fleeing from Boko Haram attacks sit at Kabalewa Refugees Camp, Diffa in Niger Republic, on March 13, 2015. Governor of northeastern Nigerian Borno State Kashim Shettima recently visited refugee camps where Nigerians fleeing from Boko Haram Islamists attacks are sheltered in Diffa province of Niger Republic. More than 13,000 people have been killed and some 1.5 million made homeless in the Boko Haram conflict since 2009, while recent cross-border attacks from Boko Haram bases in Nigeria on neighbouring countries have increased security fears. AFP PHOTO

Earlier, Governor Ben Ayade, during a courtesy call on him by the commissioner, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to come to the aid of the Bakassi people by giving them psychological redemption.

“Everyday the people lament their being separated from their ancestral homes. They have been reduced to a  beastly lifestyle, they have difficulty with water, they have lost their livelihood, they cannot fish and their children can no loner go to school. Until there is a psychological redemption of the people of Bakassi, they will know no peace.

“I don’t want the Federal Government to put a dime into the coffers of the Cross River State Government rather they should add value to Bakassi  and its people. The Bakassi narrative is a situation where, when a family wakes up, they do so without knowing where their next meal is coming from,” he stated.


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