The Nigerian government has condemned the ejection of her citizens who are taking refuge in Cameroon by the country’s authorities.
A statement issued by the Federal National Commissioner for the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Sadiya Farouq, accused the Cameroonian government of flouting the United Nations Convention on Refugees and its 167 Protocol.
He said the Protocol forbids member nations from ejecting refugees under any circumstances.
According to the Commissioner, the ejected refugees are residents of Rann, Kala-Balge Local Government Area of Borno State, who fled their community to neighbouring Goura town in Cameroon due to incessant Boko Haram attacks in January.
The statement reads:
“It is highly regrettable and sad to note that despite the passionate appeal made by the Nigerian Authorities to the Government of Cameroon not to chase out the victims of Boko Haram attacks from Rann Local Government of Borno State, this appeal has been ignored.
“Information reaching us is that the Cameroonian Government has thrown out the Displaced Persons from Rann who ran into Cameroun for safety in total disregard for the appeal and a clear breach of the United Nations Charter and Convention on the protection of Displaced Persons which both countries endorsed.
“The United Nations Convention on Refugees and its 167 Protocol states that , “no contracting state shall expel or return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his or her life or freedom will be threatened on account of his or her race, religion or nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”
Mr Farouq, however, said Nigeria would not retaliate by ejecting Cameroonian refugees currently in Nigeria.
He said; “You may recall that on January 14, 2019, persistent attacks in Rann compelled residents of the area to run into Cameroon territories for their safety, but from the onset, the Cameroon Government threatened to chase them out.
“The Nigerian Government had to remind its Cameroonian counterpart of its obligation to the displaced Nigerians, bearing in mind the UN Convention. Unfortunately, today Cameroon has made good its earlier threat by throwing the Nigerian Refugees back to the country in large number. In due course, the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take appropriate steps on the matter.
“Meanwhile, it is worthy of mention to state that Nigeria is currently hosting many Cameroonian refugees located at Cross River, Benue, Akwa-Ibom, Taraba States and some of them in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja since October 2017 and we continue to provide them with relief, care and maintenance items. This is a clear demonstration of our commitment to international Conventions on humanitarian obligations and in the spirit of good neighbourliness.
“The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) in line with its mandate will continue to provide care and maintenance to persons of concern including nationals of other countries without any form of discrimination. However, we demand that Nigerian citizens in a foreign land must not be subjected to any shabby treatment under any circumstance.”