Reports by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) indicate that over 500 Cameroonian women, men, and children have arrived in Nigeria as 0f April 2022.
The report revealed the refugees entered through Nigeria’s borders in Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Benue, Enugu, Cross River, and Taraba states.
Those in Taraba State, Northeast Nigeria, are mainly in Sardauna Local Government Area (LGA).
The UN Refugee Agency said nearly 80 per cent of the refugees are women and children, adding that the new addition brings the total number of Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria to 77,000 as of April 2022, compared to 76,577 refugees registered in March 2022.
According to the agency, the refugees are those who fled their villages due to the ongoing conflict between armed groups and security forces in the English-speaking part of the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon.
Since 2017, conflict in Cameroon has been rooted in the colonisation of Cameroon by both the French and British governments and the two languages that came with it – French and English language.
Since then, the Anglophone Cameroonians have long complained about the almost total domination of public life by the francophone Cameroonians.
This historical marginalisation led to calls for a separatist movement. Currently, the conflict has also led to the death of 4,000 civilians and more than 712,000 internally displaced.
UNHCR steps in
According to the agency, about 19,000 refugees received cash to purchase food of their choice in Nigeria’s Benue and Cross River states.
The agency added that Cameroonian refugees had been moved to new settlements, where they receive food as well as essential items, and also, women and girls are also being provided with sanitary kits, including other items like buckets, soap, and towels.
According to UNHCR, refugees have reported arbitrary arrests and restrictions of movement by security officials due to expired ID cards.
“The ID card renewal is linked to their temporary protection status (TPS), and UNHCR continues to explore ways to reduce arbitrary arrests through sensitisation and training of security officials,” UNHCR said.
In Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River, and Taraba state, UNHCR and a collision of humanitarian actors undertook over 25 visits on advocacy, border, and detention monitoring to the immigration posts, National Drug Law Development Agency, Federal Road Safety Corps, Security and Civil Defence Corps, correctional centres, and the police stations, to promote refugee’s access to justice, freedom of movement, and advocate against the arbitrary arrest and detention of refugees.
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