The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, said on Sunday that it has conveyed a total of 1,460 bags of assorted food items to the 80,709 Nigerian refugees that were forced by Boko Haram into Cameroon.
NEMA had said that at least a documented 240,000 Nigerian refugees had fled into Cameroon, Chad and Niger in the wake of Boko Haram insurgents’ rampage and seizure of communities.
The relief agency had last week said in a report that it has recorded the return of 29,581 Nigerian refugees from Cameroon.
The report came months after the news that Cameroon planned to repatriate at least 56,000 Nigerian refugees. NEMA said it acted upon a federal government directive to deliver the food relief in Cameroon for the purpose of feeding the refugees who are mostly from Borno State.
The spokesperson of NEMA, Sani Datti, said in a statement on Sunday that most of the refugees are camped in Minawao town and other locations in the far north region of Cameroon.
He said the delivery was made by a team of NEMA officials led by the relief agency’s Director of Search and Rescue, S. Muhammad, who represented the Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sidi.
Mr. Datti said the officials “handed over the items to officials of Cameroon for onward presentation to the United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) which has been managing the camp”.
“The Director General said NEMA will continue to liaise with the Government of the Republic of Cameroon to ensure that all Nigeria refugees are living in good condition.”
The team also appealed to youth in the camps “to desist from using drugs and urged them to always be of good character and be good ambassadors of our country”.
Some youth in the camp were recently arrested for drug use.
A Cameroon official who received the items, Menguene Marie, was said to have appreciated the Nigerian government for the timely gesture.
Similar appreciation was expressed by the vice chairman of the Nigerian refugees, Ashigar Mohammed from Bama Local Government Area of Borno State, who also called for immediate repatriation of refugees.
“We have been in Minawao camp for three years, we do have regular feeding, have school and hospital, but we want leaders of our communities back home to visit us,” he said.
The delivered food comprised 650 bags of rice, 300 bags of Guinea corn, 200 bags of millet, 150 bags of beans, 10 bags of groundnut, 50 bags of flour, 50 bags of sugar and 50 bags of salt. Others include 100 cartons of tinned tomato, 50 cartons of bouillon cubes, 150 cartons of spaghetti, 150 cartons of bath soap and 50 cartons of vegetable oil.