A meeting between Nigerian officials and their Cameroonian counterparts has agreed to repatriate about 46,000 Nigerians refugees, mostly from Borno State on February 27 and March 7.
The refugees who would return voluntarily would be resettled in Borno State.
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They were forced to flee their homes by insurgents. Most of the refugees were in Minawao refugee camp, located in Mokolo, far north region of Cameroon.
Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum alongside federal humanitarian officials and Cameroonian authorities were at the Minawao camp Wednesday, before returning to Maroua, capital of the far north region, for a Tripartite Commission meeting.
Gusau said the initial plan was to have first batch of 9,800 refugees resettled in newly built houses located in Bama and Banki earlier.
However, Wednesday’s meeting of the tripartite commission came up with a revised standard operating procedure which was signed by all parties agreeing that repatriation holds on February 27th and March 7th, 2021.
The commission was established in the aftermath of a tripartite agreement signed in Cameroon on March 2nd, 2017, between Governments of Nigeria, the Republic of Cameroon and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), on repatriation of Nigerian refugees who fled to Cameroon since 2014 over attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in parts of Borno and Adamawa States.
He said “the agreement created a legal framework which identified modalities for voluntary, dignified and safe return of refugees to their countries of origin with all parties agreeing to critically assess safety of resettlement destinations, ensure refugees are well informed of the realities of where they will be returned to make them take informed decisions while neither Nigerian officials nor communities in Cameroon should force refugees to leave.
“The UNHCR was to keep supporting the refugees and protecting their rights and obedience to local laws under the UN convention.
A commission with representatives from Nigeria, Cameroon and the UNHCR, was then established to monitor the implementation of the agreement by ensuring all parties live to their signed commitments in favour of refugees.
Governor Zulum had before traveling to Cameroon, Tuesday Zulum met with Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, the Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Senator Basheer Lado, and with relevant ambassadors.