The United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency and the Nigerian Government have expressed concerns over the soaring number of Anglophone Cameroonians who are fleeing into Africa’s most populated country as refugees.
According to the aforementioned bodies, over 15,000 Southern Cameroonians are currently seeking refuge in different States across Nigeria as military crackdown on separatists in the North West and South West Region of Cameroon surges.
Speaking to the press on Thursday, January 11, 2018 in Abuja, the representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Antonio Jose Canhandula, said over 8,000 Anglophone refugees are currently registered in the south-eastern part of Cross River State.
On his part, the Head of Nigeria’s National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Sadiya Umar Farouq, asserted that more than 6,700 Southern Cameroonian Refugees are camping in Benue State.
Moreover, some 350 Anglophone Refugees are pitching their refugee tents in Taraba and Akwa Ibom States going by the statistics provided by the Deputy Controller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Tamuno Dienye Jaja.
Jaja wept that the contingent of Anglophone Refugees are mostly made up of women and children with no men to cater for them.
Taking the floor, Canhandula enthused: “certainly there are more… others who are not registered have left us guessing…they are still coming and they are doing so daily because it is a crisis situation. So more food assistance, education and social services are needed, particularly as a number of the women are pregnant at a young age…”
However, the Head of Nigeria’s National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons pledged the support of the Nigerian Government to the Anglophone Refugees. We are going to do all that we can to bring some kind of relief to the refugees.”
It would be recalled that English-speaking Cameroonians started scampering into Nigeria last month when President Paul Biya declared war on those he termed “terrorists and secessionists”.
He reiterated his stand to eradicate all those stoking the embers of upheavals in the North West and South West Regions to the visiting Commonwealth Secretary General, Patricia Scotland.
He still hammered on the point in his end of year address to the nation and dispatched military armored cars to the Regions, especially Mamfe, a border town between Cameroon and Nigeria.