Returnee-refugees

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has advised the Cameroonian Police to be diligent in the discharge of their duties and to stop forcing Cameroonian nationals into Nigerian territory.

NIS Chief Superintendent at the Sahuda border post In Mubi South local Government Area of Adamawa, Mr Salek Bello, gave this advice on Tuesday when he hosted Ms. Angele Dikongue-Atangana, the Country Representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Nigeria, who visited him.

Bello said the advice became necessary following the NIS discovery during screening, that 423 returnees from Cameroon were not Nigerians.

According to him, only six of the returnees were Nigerians who had fled insurgency in their communities into the Republic of Cameroon.

Bello said that Cameroon did not screen the returnees properly before repatriating them to Nigeria.

“The NIS and other security agencies carried out a security check on the 423 returnees.

“We found out that almost all of them had Cameroonian national identity cards except six of them who were Nigerians alongside their 10 Nigerien wives,’’ he said.

According to the chief superintendent, some of the returnees arrived the entry point very ill and hungry having travelled a long distance for three days.

He added that the NIS record showed that 11 persons died while some women gave birth on arrival.

The chief superintendent said that the Sahuda community would require more assistance from donors as well as the Federal Government and other international organisations.

Bello urged the UNHCR to address the situation while also urging the Cameroonian Police to stop violating the rights of refugees.

He noted that the UNHCR had remained a dependable institution whose contribution in the area of capacity building, direct material support and other governance initiatives could not be overemphasised.

The chief superintendent said that the Sahuda community would require more assistance from donors as well as the Federal Government and other international organisations.

Earlier, Dikongue-Atangana said that the UNHCR was committed to exercising its supervisory role in Adamawa and the entire north-east geo-political zone.

“UNHCR has found a worthy partner in the NIS and would continue to work closely with them in providing protection and assistance to returnees,’’ she said.

“We must ensure that refugees, IDPs and other persons of concern are able to enjoy the widest possible array of human rights and fundamental freedoms without discrimination.

“Part of that means providing prompt, quality services, such as care to victims, legal assistance and support for the voluntary return of refugees or their resettlement.

“It also means advocating for and intervening on behalf of refugees and other persons of concern when they are at risk,’’ she stressed.

Dikongue-Atangana noted that the repatriation of Nigerian refugees from Cameroon in the past months had remained a source of concern to the UNHCR and the humanitarian community as a whole.

The UNHCR and partners have so far registered 22,096 Nigerian returnees at Sahuda, an outpost border between Cameroon and Nigeria.

Author: Cerebral Lemon