From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Federal Government has disclosed plans to repatriate over 4,982 Nigerians from Cameroon, explaining that 3,224 refugees would settle in Banki town while 1,758 of them would reside in Bama town, Borno State.
The Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Senator Basheer Mohammed Lado, stated this in a statement.
Lado explained that the return of the refugees will also be in line with the Commission’s on going resettlement cities project, which will shelter thousands of displaced persons in a two-bedroom housing units across some states, consisting of primary health care and education centres, security outposts, worship houses, skill acquisition centres, markets and adjoining farmlands for use by the occupants.
Represented by the Commission’s Director of Refugee and Migration, Tai Hassan Ejibunu, he said: “Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s explicit instructions that all Nigerian refugees in Cameroon be returned back home safely to a life of dignity and pride with immediate effect.
“We have a total of 4982 to be returned hopefully 3,224 to Banki Town and 1758 to Bama Town
“The Honourable Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Senator Basheer Garba Mohammed Lado has met with the officials of the Cameroonian government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Maroua, Cameroon, over the weekend.
“The meeting, which is a follow-up of meetings in 2017 initiated by the then commissioner and now minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, also led to the successful return of 134 Nigerians from Cameroon.”
Lado, who doubles as the Chairman, Technical Working Group (TWG) of Nigeria on the voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refugees, said the TWGs’ meeting is a forerunner to the Tripartite Commission (TC) meeting scheduled to hold this week.
“The meeting this week would provide the latitude and platform for officials of both counties to have in-depth discussions on the protocols and strategies to follow in repatriating the several thousands of Nigerian Refugees that are stationed in Minawao Camp in the Republic of Cameroon.
“Therefore, I would urge officials of both countries to be open in their discussions, while putting into consideration, the interest of the refugees, following international best practices and the guidance of our technical partner, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Offices, both in Nigeria and Cameroon.
“At this juncture, let me take this opportunity, to thank the UNHCR Country Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Chansa Kapaya, and her dedicated staff for their invaluable contribution, assistance and collaboration in all spheres, to ensure that discussions were held always, on how best to tackle the repatriation of these Persons of Concerns (PoCs) to Nigeria,” he added.