10 January 2016

Nigeria: 12,000 Nigerian Refugees Await Repatriation From Cameroon

Maiduguri — No fewer than 12,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon will soon be repatriated to Nigeria, the Administrative officer of Fotoko District of that country, Mamoudu Umaru Sarki, said yesterday. Boko Haram insurgents displaced the Nigerian refugees in Cameroon from their homes in Borno State

Sarki gave the indication when the Victims Support Fund (VSF) assessment team visited the refugees in Fotoko yesterday.

But the Executive Secretary of VSF, Prof. Sunday Ocheche, said it was important to assess the "security situation and accessibilities" in the border areas of Gambouru and Ngala towns, before the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Cameroon could be repatriated and resettled in any of the camps in Nigeria.

Sarki said that over 12, 000 Nigerians were taking refuge in the camps, adding that they would be repatriated with 225 households to Nigeria.

Prof. Ocheche, however noted that the Nigerian refugees in Cameroon would not be repatriated, until the military and Borno State government address the security "situation and accessibility" problems identified by the VSF team.

"There are many factors to be taken into consideration in determining whether to set up a camp or not. There are many Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) along the road to Gambouru. We have just crossed the border to Cameroon and quite a number of Nigerians there are anxious to return," he said.

On security, he said: "The security situation in Gambouru looks, from a layman's perspective, good. The military have done a good job, they have cleared the place; but you can see, it is a ghost town. There is no single structure, not a single thing standing in Gambouru. Everything has been razed down. When the people are coming back to Gambouru, it is not just to return to a camp or tent; they want to return to a normal life. And these are all issues that the assessment team wanted to take into consideration."

He said the VSF would hold talks with the military, the Borno State government and stakeholders, before arriving at the "appropriate decision" on the matter.


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