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UNHCR registers 21,291, relocates 331 Cameroonian refugees

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Cameroonian refugees. AFP PHOTO / REINNIER KAZE

Global refugee agency, United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), yesterday, relocated 331 Camerounian refugees from Abande to Anyake in Kwande Local Council of Benue State for adequate care and protection.

The UNCHR Assistant Representative for Operations, Boubacar Bamaba, in a statement in Abuja, said that the relocation was in respect of extant humanitarian norm which demands that refugees must stay 50 kilometres away from the borders.

He reiterated that the move was to ensure that the Camerounians live safely in deference to international protocols.

Bamaba recalled that the affected refugees were in the last quarter of last year forced to abandon their homes mostly in the Anglophone regions of the country.

The statement reads in part: “To date, UNHCR, together with the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), has registered some 21,291 refugees in Nigeria. Children and women constitute 77 per cent of the population.

“Living in 40 different locations across four states – Cross River, Benue, Akwa Ibom, and Taraba – the refugees have been arriving in Nigeria since October 2017.”

He assured leaders and members of the host community that UNHCR was actively engaging with partners to better the lot of the affected people and effectively address the humanitarian crisis at hand.

Bamba added: “Refugees, who can learn, contribute, and provide for their families in exile, are better placed to rebuild their lives anywhere, including their homes, once it is safe for them to return.”

The Executive Secretary, Benue State Emergency Management Agency (BSEMA), Emmanuel Shior, commended the UN agency for its commitment and response to the refugees.

According to him, two employees, stationed in Abande, would be redeployed to Anyake to continue in providing support to the affected people until they fully settle down in their new environment.

Prior to the relocation, the UNHCR, state authorities, Norwegian Church Aid, and residents had constructed a transit site, two multi-purpose housing facilities, 32 temporary shelters, and 24 latrines in the community. Anyake is 66 kilometres away from Abande.

Shior said: “There will be more voluntary relocations to Anyake settlement, which can host over 3,000 Camerounian refugees.”

Chief Zaki of Anyake, however, warned their guests: “Do not take advantage of our vulnerable girls and women.”

THE BSEMA boss stressed peaceful coexistence between the refugees and their hosts, pledging that they would remain available for service.


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