Refugee Commission Meets Cameroonian Officials over President Buhari’s Repatriation Directives

Coat of arms

A Technical Working Group of the Tripartite Commission for the voluntary Repartriation of Nigerian refugees living in Cameroon has ended in Maroua, Cameroun.

The Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Senator Basheer Garba Mohammed Lado met with officials of the Cameroonian government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Maroua, Cameroon at the weekend to develop practical modalities to continue the repartriation of Nigerian refugees from cameroun.

The meeting is coming on the heels of President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that all Nigerian refugees in Cameroon be returned home safely to a life of dignity with immediate effect.

The Commissioner who was represented by the commission’s Director of Refugees and Migration Tai Hassan Ejibunu stated that the importance of the meeting on the Voluntary Repatriation of Nigerian Refugees in Cameroon including the suppport of the Humanitarian Affairs ministry cannot be overemphasized.

Senator Lado, who is also the Chairman, Technical Working Group of Nigeria on the voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refugees, said that the TWGs’ meeting is a forerunner to the Tripartite Commission (TC) meeting scheduled to hold February 10, 2021.

“The meeting this week will provide the latitude and platform for officials of both counties to have in-depth discussions on the protocols and strategies to follow in repatriating several thousands of Nigerian Refugees that are stationed in Minawao Camp in the Republic of Cameroon. I 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 in Nigeria and Cameroon.

“I thank the UNHCR Country Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Chansa Kapaya for her invaluable contribution, assistance and collaboration in all spheres to ensure that discussions are held regularly on how best to tackle the repatriation of these Persons of Concerns (PoCs) to Nigeria.

“The Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum has demonstrated uncommon passion in ensuring that the citizens of his State in Cameroon are repatriated home in safety and given a new lease of life. His reintegration plans for the PoCs will assuage the losses and fears of the refugees upon their return to Borno State”.

Following a series of meetings in 2017 initiated by the then Commissioner and now Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouk, 134 Nigerians were successfully returned from Cameroon.

Recommendations of the meeting

The Ministry was represented at the TWG meeting by the Deputy Director, Humanitarian affairs. Charles Nwanelo Anaelo.

The return of the refugees will also be in line with the Commission’s ongoing resettlement city project which will shelter thousands of displaced persons in two-bedroom housing units across some states consisting of primary health care and education centres, security outposts, worship houses, skill acquisition centres, markets and farmlands for use by the returnees.

The commission’s Project Reliance is another programme aimed at providing a stable means of livelihoood for the returnee refugees, empowering them through start-up capitals and empowerment tools in more than 50 different vocations and businesses of their choices.