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Cameroonian refugees beg not to be deported from Nigeria


Cameroonian displaced people / AFP PHOTO / REINNIER KAZE

Cameroonian refugees in Bashua, Danare, Biajua, Okwa, Abo, Wula and Bashu communities in Cross River State numbering over 20,000 have pleaded with the Nigerian government not to send them back to their country.

They fear that their repatriation might result in their being ‘murdered like chickens’.

The development followed the extradition of leaders of Ambazonia separatist group of Southern Cameroun by the Nigerian government.

A 35-year old mother of four, Marie Owan of Kagifu community in Cameroun, who held the views of most refugees said: “We prefer to die hungry in Nigeria than die with bullets in Cameroun.”

Owan, who takes refuge in Abo with her four children, husband and mother in-law, begged for protection from the Federal Government, saying any attempt to send them away will be inhuman.

Speaking on behalf of the refugees, Ogar Benedict Ayamba, from Bodam community in Akwaya sub-division of Cameroun, said the extradition of their leaders was giving them sleepless nights.

These were the views of the refugees when they spoke with newsmen at the weekend in Bashua Community, Boki Local Council of Cross River State.

They stated this while receiving relief materials from St. Rita Organisation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that comprises St Rita Heroes Lifeline Foundation and St. Rita Multipurpose Cooperative Society.

Ayamba said: “We appreciate our host communities, the state and Federal Government for their kind gestures and we thank President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing us to be in Nigeria.

“Our main problem is that since our leaders were extradited to Cameroun, we are now living in fear of being asked to leave and for now our communities in Cameroun are not safe and until peace is restored, we are not and cannot be safe there.

“We are pleading with the Nigerian government not to contemplate repatriating us. We will not bring any problems to the country. We are a peace loving people,” he added.

They, however, went wild with jubilation as they received relief items worth thousands of naira from St. Rita Organisation.

Most of the women and children danced with joy as they dragged their bags of rice and other items for safe keeping in their different make shift homes saying: “This is God sent, we are grateful because food is our main concern here.”

The refugees commended the National President of St. Rita Organisation, CSP Beatrice Odudu (rtd.), for assisting them in their extreme period of trauma and insecurity, as they pleaded with other organisations to come to their aid.

Coordinators of the NGO for Ikom and Boki council areas, Mrs. Veraz Tiku and Harrison Odudu, said St. Rita Organisation, was out to put smiles on faces of the less privileged, widows and displaced persons who do not have any means of survival.

Speaking, Odudu, said the refugees were international children who should be assisted and encouraged, adding: “It is only right for every group and individuals to render help for the sake of humanity. We thank God for the little we have done.”

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Cameroonian refugees
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