The UN Refugee Agency has called for an urgent political solution to the crisis situation in Cameroon.
Aikaterini Kitidi, UNHCR spokeswoman made the remark recently while appraising the current refugee situation in Nigeria where over 20,000 Cameroonians have been registered as asylum seekers.
Kitidi said a recent assessment by humanitarian groups shows 95 percent of the asylum seekers have no more than three days of food. “Most families are down to one meal per day in Nigeria, and their basic needs are hardly served”.
She said the asylum seekers reported that they do not have access to clean water, while essential relief items such as clothing, blankets, and plastic sheeting are also available to fewer than 25 percent of them.
The spokeswoman said only five in every 100 Cameroonians have proper or independent shelter, while the rest have little or no privacy. “Children commonly exhibit rapid breathing and coughing,” she noted.
She urged Cameroonian authorities to urgently come out with proper solutions which will propel refugees to return home. “Our office has worked on a contingency plan of $18 million to help cover their needs. However, so far no funds have been received, leading to immense challenges and gaps in the response,” the UNHCR’s spokeswoman said.
It would be recalled that Cameroonians began fleeing conflict between the government and the Anglophone separatist forces since October 2017 and continue to pour into Nigeria’s Cross River, Taraba, Benue and Akwa-Ibom states. since 2016, the country has been marred by protests, with residents in English-speaking regions saying they have been marginalized for decades by the central government and the French-speaking majority.
Most protesters are calling for a return to federalism while others say they desire independence of English-speaking Cameroon.