President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been called upon to facilitate the return of about 120,000 Nigerian refugees, who fled their ancestral homes to Cameroon over 10 years ago, following the violence perpetrated by the Boko Haram terrorists.
Nigerian Refugees in Cameroon (NRC), which represents the displaced Nigerians in a letter dated January 8, 2024, have said the refugees in various camps in northern Cameroon were facing severe hardship and wished to return home immediately to stop their constant harassment and dehumanization.
The group, in the letter signed by its President, Luka Isaac, noted 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 refugees lamented the harrowing experience that drove them out of their homeland in Borno State in 2013, stressing that they were at the mercy of the authorities in Cameroon, United Nations agencies including the UN High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) and other international agencies, which attended to their basic needs before their basic needs got depleted.
“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.
“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.
The group further requested President Tinubu to expedite action to return hope to the people under his Renewed Hope Agenda, even as they urged the federal government to protect lives and property of citizens and provide welfare to the refugees.
They urged the president to improve the security situation in Gwoza East by deploying soldiers and relevant security agencies, especially at Ashigashiya, Kirawa, Attagara and Barawa and to renovate the old and destroyed police station at Arboko.
They pleaded with the government to set up camps in about 21 villages in Gwoza East of Borno State to facilitate their return to their communities and start reviving their economic activities.
They also admonished 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.”